WHY? - Alopecia
Here was what the scene which appeared around Anticon and its clones, by the end of the 90's, finally delivered. They did not regenerate rap, as some had expected. No they didn't. But they integrated to rock what they had learned from hip-hop, they completed what people like Beck had started a long time ago, but with more success, more ease, and a better control of the genre's techniques. At least, this is what tended to prove the critical acclaim received by this album from Why?, originally just one artist, Yoni Wolf, but a full band by then, including the guy's brother, Josiah, and the estimable Andrew Broder, among others.
Why?'s music, at this stage, was no longer hip-hop. It was more some kind of heir for the clever and jolty indie rock of Pavement or The Silver Jews (the latter were mentioned on "Good Friday", and Yoni and his friends had toured with them in the past). More than ever, it looked like the messy and meddling music Broder and the bassist, Mark Erickson, were used to create with Fog, their previous band. However, in the way Yoni was telling stories, with this flow which never really was a melody, with his internal rimes, and with his lyrics conjugated with the first person, he retained something from his hip-hop background.
Also, his arty attitude, his disabused and introspective tone, his stream-of-consciousness lyrics, and his obtuse, cryptic, morbid or facetious words were all unmistakable attributes of the Anticon tradition. It just sounded better integrated, more organic and natural, than with the too often indigestible music Dose One, Wolf's old fellow, was delivering with the overloaded records of Subtle, another rock / rap crossover band, parallel to Why?.
When we added to the singer / rapper's talent the compelling chorus of "The Vowels Pt. 2", the new wave rhythmic and the lazy organ of "These Few Presidents", the charming "hoo hoos" of "The Hollows", the shiny "Fatalist Palmistry", the slow and splendid "Brook & Waxing", the dreamy and sumptuous "Torpedo or Crohn's", it was obvious that Why? had been the artist who survived the best to the Anticon wave, whether it revolutionized rap, or just gave birth to some kind of indie rock subdivision some decided to name "folk hop".
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