Monday, November 16, 2009

Danger Doom - The Mouse and The Mask

I will get to the album in a second, but I think some apologies and explanations are in order.

When I started this blog, I was in the United States, with no job, no real prospects, plenty of time, and I was just getting off a writing bender that produced a 25 page paper written about 10 pages of the second hardest book I've ever read. I was in the mood to slam out a couple thousand words a day, and really put a ton of work into this project. Then, I stopped, mainly because I poured out a ton of words too quickly. Pacing, my friends (especially those who have drank excessively with me) is not necessarily my strong suit, as you may be able to tell. However, I found that the people that I had gotten in touch with through the blog, and the people who had suggested albums liked it and wanted me to do more. I was preparing to dive back in, and write thousands of words about stuff that I have very little authority about, Glenn Beck style, when I got a call from the Seoul Ministry of Education, requesting that in a week, I come to Korea and start teaching.

And I said yes, in what may prove to be the third or fourth best decision of my life. However, this dashed TAP for a bit.

Many of you know that I came to Korea, and many of you don't really give a shit about my excuses, because I've been in your shoes. I know that the lamest thing that someone can do is start a blog, slam out a couple of posts, and then let it rot, sitting there never to return. Fuck, I've done it a couple of times.

What you may not know is that I had to buy a new computer to come to Korea, and therein lies the problem. I lost every piece of music that I had. When I look at my itunes right now, it is pitifully small. I have the Radiohead studio albums, the Dethalbum II, and whatever shitty sample music was on my computer. It's depressing.

However, of course, this could be an opportunity for me to get some classic albums, and rebuild my library from scratch. So there is that. So if you have a new suggestion, or something else, please post it in the comments below, or on Facebook, where I will archive and catalog them. Anyone who has posted a request, I'm working on recompiling the list of things that have been requested, to attempt to get back to where I was.

Today, though, I wanted to introduce my first request. I don't think this is necessarily my favorite album of all time, but I'll tell you more about why I picked it in the essay part of this essay. Ladies and Gentlemen (Or more likely, Gentlemen who aren't pissed at me for taking so goddamn long), I present the Return of The Album Project.

Danger Doom - The Mouse And The Mask
Published 2005

I have briefly remarked on the size of my IPod being a hindering factor to having a lot of different music on the brain, and having a small IPod making me choose those albums that I want out of necessity as opposed to being able to carry my entire music library around. 8 GB used to fill up quickly, round these parts. But moving halfway around the world to a country where I don't speak the language and am constantly struggling just to figure out where something is or what bus I have to take to get there, I find myself astonished at how much music I actually have. I am delighted to find tracks that I haven't really listened to before to appreciate them, and just for the distraction, the ability of music to take me away from the strangeness of the background from me. Some albums, which are coming up on the project, inject me further into this strange space, but this is not one of those albums. This is one of the albums I put on when I want to feel like I'm back at home, sitting in my room, hanging out with some of my friends. This is one of those nostalgia pieces, one of those things that makes me happy to be an American abroad, knowing that the lyrics are just speaking to me, and no matter how loud I'm yelling them, I'm the only person on the street that is getting them.

This is comfort music. Everyone knows about the concept of comfort food, but comfort music probably comes first in a persons life. That Raffi tape that will make you go to sleep, that Clash song that makes you feel alive for the first time (speaking of, Rock the Casbah is still awesome, and still has awesome laser noises in the middle of it), that album that you listened to over and over after you were broken up with the first time (Incubus - Morning View actually, which is surprising, because that is apparently the spirit in which it was written). It's that music that takes you back to college roadtrips (Either the Epic "Milton, Oesch, Tillman, Butler Have Only One CD in the Car and Plan to Drive for Nearly 3 Days, Which Is Good Planning" Mix, or System of a Down's Toxicity, which was a trip to the beach on a Saturday to see the sun rise with some people who I never talk to anymore, but at fucking 8 am on the way home on Sunday, got us back). Comfort music is that music that you know will get the same response every time, that music that you can't turn off, because it's important to remember how every song flowed into every other one, and that you end up investing yourself into, because you just have no goddamn choice.

Danger Doom, the collaboration between DOOM (who has been known by many aliases in his time, which give a good insight into what kind of artist he is, so I will list a couple, Viktor Vaughn, King Ghidra, King Geedorah, Metal Fingers, and MF Doom), and the mastermind behind a highly respected Mashup album called "The Grey Album", DangerMouse. The Grey Album is which mixes Jay Z's The Black Album with The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album) to make some really incredible, interesting music, and a future Album Project candidate, especially while I am working off my IPod. These are two incredibly talented individuals, and when put together, they do some amazing work. The list of people that these two have collaborated with is nearly unstoppable, and coincides with many of my favorite bands and artists.

So, when they decided to collaborate together, and with Adult Swim to make a rap album, punctuated with some new and old dialouge from your favorite [as] shows, I knew that I must have this album. I was actually a much larger fan of DangerMouse going into the album for the first time. I am a huge fan of Gorillaz, and I felt that Demon Days was one of those strange future looking albums that will stand the test of time, and still do. So I went in thinking, oh, maybe this DOOM guy will be good, but I know the production is going to be fantastic. Man, I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about. Let's all just read some lyrics, shall we?

Scared of a bunch of water, then get out the rain
Order a rapper for lunch and spit out the chain
Then kick a lungee off the tip of his timbo
And trick a honey dip into a game of of strip limbo
Odd... He couldn't find no remorse
A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse
Of course his technique was from a divine source
Never new the price of ice or what swine cost
One guy tried to bite the heat
That's when he discovered the other other white meat
Ohhhh, the one they hate so well
He sure keeps it pyscho like the old bates motel
They came to ask him for at least some new tracks
But only got confronted by the beast with two backs

That right there? That's some crazy shit. Now, let's listen to the same thing.

Yeah, I know, the man has what some would call flow, but look at the writing that goes into that flow. He has some incredible imagery that provokes some seriously crazy wordplay, and it just develops and develops. We hit the Beast with Two Backs line, stop, and the next line... Knock. Fucking Amazing. The beat is solid as shit, starting out with the Iconic Sofa King line, from ATHF, and just developing from there. The lyrics, all the way through are incredible, the whole thing builds and builds and builds. And then, we get maybe my favorite DOOM Lyrics ever.

The fans demanded it, handled it, swallowed it
His own brand of shit, if only he could bottle it
Hmm.. Nah shit could get messy
Feds tried to tortue him for the secret recipe
He said: It's no use, I only know half
No speak-a da english. I only do the math
Zzzzzt. Felt no pain
His brain was saturated with cocaine and Rogaine
He said: Try scam no thing three-card dead
fly man go for bling he got bled
I jam over sting, see spots red
I am "Sofa King, We Todd Ed"

It's not just the rhyme scheme that impresses me here, it's that through this whole little section, we get a coherent picture of an idea that came into his head. He gives himself this essential property, an extract of his, and then takes the idea of extracting it from himself to the extreme, ending up with the mass control of humanity through DOOM's extract. But he doesn't stop by saying that he is the greatest rapper that has control over this extract to the feds, he fucking has them zap him, and hit him with "cocaine and rogaine" which destroys the thing that makes him coherent, but he continues to rap and build to the end. Amazing.

I won't say that every song on this album is as good as Sofa King, but if you liked any part of Sofa King, you should be listening to every one, because you never know what you'll find. Sometimes, it's worth hearing the whole song for one couplet, and sometimes he expresses shit in such a way that you will fucking find yourself just trying to remember how he said it, because he said it so well that you will never be able to repeat it. I sat there trying to just remember one great couplet, and I could only think to repeat hundreds of lines.

If you want to see the true depth of the catalog of just DOOM for great lines, may I direct you to the thread over here at the AV Club, which is just a list of the "best DOOM couplets of all time". Seriously, it's fantastic.

This is the kind of music I find myself falling back on while I am here, I can't say that it has done anyting other than make my life more comfortable, but having a voice tell me the things that DOOM's does is just oddly satisfying. I hear rap occasionally since I've been here, but it has all been in the form of that one girl in the girl band who doesn't know how to sing, but she was friends with the girls that started the band so she started rapping, which should actually just be called what it is, fucking awful. So sometimes, just to get that whiff of home, I bring out DOOM and he walks with me to school. And I'll be damned if he doesn't get me there every time.

I don't know how long it is going to be between posts, I'm deciding what I'm going to do next. If you liked Sofa King, find the album and give it a shot, if you didn't I'd suggest you give it a couple more listens. Youtube is actually excellent on DOOM videos, and you can also search under MF Doom for more results. Otherwise obtain how you will.

I have no one to thank, so I'll just say,
I'm sorry Brian, I didn't put the White Album on my IPod before I came, so I feel like a jackass, but it is on the list. Thanks for not hungerstriking, and besides, your fucking buisness trips should be getting you through life, you crazy bastard.
Also, if you have any suggestions, please throw them my way. I'm leaning towards Presidents of the United States of America or maybe Franz Ferdinand for the next one, but I am willing to take a suggestion.

So anyway, Next time Gadget, Next time....



  1. Yea there was that time we all went to Fells and you almost puked in the cab but then puked on the curb immediately after exiting the cab in the middle of my west baltimore neighborhood and then puked again in my sink.... def not good at the pacing thing

  2. Man, we've all been there, mainly me.

    Tomorrow, probably, Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand.


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