“The Creepiest Album I Could Think to Listen to on Halloween Was The Dandy Warhols’ Why You so Crazy.”

There’s typically a point in a listen to any Eminem album when you have a little conference with yourself and come to grips that you’re just existing in a dirty sort of realm. On The Slim Shady LP, this probably comes on “As the World Turns,” with Bizarre’s skit on “Amityville” probably accomplishing this task on MMLP.

Well, that’s kind of like what the gosh darn totality of this Why You so Crazy album is like, by The Dandy Warhols, a band that has always been fairly ubiquitous but perhaps just a little too weird to really take off. It opens harmoniously enough, with “Fred ’n’ Ginger” a sub-one-minute blip of musique concrete drollery, before “Terraform,” on which the warped, treated vocals create an otherworldly vibe penetrable only by a member of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine cast. Somehow, this year, for Halloween, a day that marks my sixth straight cloudy day off (it’s actually been sunny for eight straight days I’ve worked, if you can believe it), a day when I had my first seizure, for no apparent reason, this thickly bizarre bath of ominousness just seemed right. 

“Highlife,” though penned and sung by Zia McCabe, rather than primary DW mad scientist Courtney Taylor-Taylor, is chock full of the same sense of alientation, dealing with explicit heartbreak and, kind of, letting yourself go, with the repeated declaration of “I’m gonna live the high life ’til I die”. The song is arranged in rockabilly form and sung with what’s almost certainly meant to be a contrived hillbilly accent, to be then answered by track six, “Sins are Forgiven,” which depicts a Jesus figure requesting to be let down from this darn uncomfortable cross he’s on. Don’t worry, it gets weirder. 

“Next Thing I Know” actually represents what I consider sort of a genuine artistic advancement for the band, with an elaborate synth riff coming into its own over programmed drums, like a stoned version of “Sign o’ the Times” by Prince, or thereabouts. From there, the mudslinging resumes, with two bitter, jealous bouts of good-ol’-fashioned Northwest hipster petulancy coming in the form of “Small Town Girls” and “Motor City Steel.” Luckily for the listener, sandwiched by these two charmers is “To the Church,” which excerpts the famous “get me to the church on time” tenet repeated in gospel and Bowie, and actually furnishes an element of style. Interestingly, too, “To the Church” helps Why You so Crazy play as a a veritable statement with post-pop, like a succinct, bubbly look at the radio-catering muse that’s been turned inside-out, dejected and embittered to the point of realizing, and presenting, the hopelessness of his own inextricable craft. Crazy, weird bass synth and warped vocals dance all over this track and make it singular in a deconstructed sort of way, to foil the positive artistic progression of “Next Thing I Know.” 

Almost undoubtedly borne out of bona fide inferiority complex, the band installed a “cover version” of a classical piano piece for the final track on this album, Maurice Ravel’s “Ondine.” It’s almost as if to say, here, small town middle America, we know a guy who can do THIS. Why You so Crazy certainly plays as the work of a man, or a group, on the precipice of total insanity, from band I used to follow on Facebook, but, honestly, were pretty much a**holes, and had the insufferable habit of constantly sharing their own songs. Why You so Crazy exists solely within a realm of insanity, with Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s Bohemian “cool” long dead and gone, like The Gaslight Anthem said in “The Spirit of Jazz.” It’s an album that resembles the Frankenstein monster, in a sense — without a respectable core identity but still composed of enough fractal facets of pastiche, mimicry of pop and overall nonsensicality, to make it a fun ride. 


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