With music we are consistently faced with the question “what’s in a name?” Unlike other avenues of life, music asks this question more often than not. I challenge you to explain to me, without the use of Wikipedia, why bands are named what they are. The Who: Maybe they wanted to have a running joke that would confuse generations. Thin Lizzy: They must have been named after someone – there were only glam rocking men – no women in the band. Maroon 5: None of these gentlemen have a skin discoloration, nor do they paint themselves while performing live. I’ve checked on the latter.
This brings us to my most recent quandary, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Is either of these two gents from Detroit actually related to the NASCAR great? Short of launching into a Who Do You Think You Are? episode, in my research, I’ve found no such ties.
I first came across Daniel Zott and Josh Epstein’s electric-folk release by selection. I reached out to have a listen to this album because the question of “what would a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. sound like?” intrigued me.
The result would not only redefine 2011 and surprise me beyond expectations, but would bring a new found fascination with a part of the country I’ve come to generalize. Sorry Detroitians but all we’ve had was Kid Rock and Eminem in recent memory to compare with on a large scale.
Hardly refined, the next 12 tracks take me on a trip I certainly was not expecting. They utilize all parts of the music to paint their message. As a listener, we’re emotionally taken up and down with seemingly unstructured songs that create an escape from this, pardon the pun, corporate world.
They are, in fact, incredibly well put together. I’m instantly attracted to the sometimes faint vocals that confidently meet at an apex with the array of backing sounds.
I’m categorizing this between the sounds of The Shins’ Wincing The Night Away and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds with the experiment-like instrumentals incorporated with dreamy vocals creating waves of sound that will carry you away. Whether you’re listening the voyeuristic monotone love balled of “When I Open My Eyes” or the Simon and Garfunkel-esc acoustic march in “Simple Girl”, it’s not hard to realize Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have solidified a freshman album that rivals all that have come out so far this year.
As the first ten songs create a very dream-like precedence that rock you in the arms of this world, you are promptly awaken by the Black Keys like recreation of the Gil Scott-Heron’s “We Almost Lost Detroit”.
Covering all escapes, It’s A Corporate World collapses on your psyche on all cylinders. Finding comfort in the sounds of generations that have led up to it, this album is instantly a contender for my Top 10 Albums of 2011. Pick it up June 7th.