|duran2.net : reviews|
by Katie Walker,
John Taylor: Autodidact EP
When I picked up Autodidact, I have to admit that I was a bit dubious. The concept of an EP of alternative love songs was a bit on the bizarre side. There were also rumors that the songs on this EP were not of the quality one would expect from a man of John's talent and experience. But I was happily surprised to find that Autodidact is a solid piece of musical work and that it was what one would expect from a musician of John's caliber.
anon (one day at a time) -- every time that I hear this song, the beginning always makes me think two things. First, that my CD player is dying. Second, that I have accidentally put Young M.C.'s song, "Bust a Move" into the player instead of Autodidact. The song starts with what I can best describe as someone having put the record player on at the wrong speed and then suddenly correcting that error to kick the song into a traditional hip-hop beat. If this song doesn't make you want to get up and dance, nothing will.
silent skin -- this has to be the weakest song on the album. I have to say that while the lyrics are touching, the music is just lifeless and unmoving. There is no spark to give the ballad any impact on the listener.
ode to richard prince. -- why this is on the CD I will never know. This is not a song, but instead John's attempt at stand-up comedian. It is a good thing that John wanted to be a musician and not a comedian: the joke are terrible and the delivery leaves something to be desired.
the anti-wife -- while not a strong as Anon, The Anti-Wife is a catchy mid-tempo song. This song is very typical of what one would expect out of John when he is not "super grunge man".
lonely child -- this is the song that Silent Skin should be. Lonely Child is a musically beautiful ballad that John wrote for Atlanta. It contains wonderful depth, which is able to pull the listener into the song. This one very much reminded me of something which would have come off Prince's soundtrack for "Purple Rain" (One of my favorite soundtracks from the 80's).
The only complaint I have about the EP is the lyrics. They have got to go. While most of them are honest, they lack any poetry; they are often awkward and not quite fitting to the melody. John had a similar problem on "Feeling Are Good". It would be nice to see John find someone to collaborate with on the lyrics, to smooth them out and give them the same level of competence as the music.
'Feelings Are Good' video note: 'Autodidact' is a CD5 format which allows for the insertion of the FAG video. The big problem is that most people don't own CD players which can read this format. While not cutting edge (people have been making these type of CDs for several years), the technology is still relatively new and computer manufactures have only recently started to include CD players, which read the CD5 format, with systems. If your computer is more than a year old, you probably won't be able to access the video track. Not that I personally think that anyone is missing much. I thought that the video was pretty boring and not really worth the time that it took me to get the thing off the CD. But then I am also not a John fan so I might be a bit biased on this one.
rating: 7 Dancing Ferrets - Music; 8 Dancing Ferrets - Lyrics; 4 Hearing Impaired Ferrets. The ferrets have been pulling this out so that they can jam. Fortunately, the stereo here has Karaoke mode so that they can play the EP without being driven too crazy by the lyrics. The ferrets also commented the other day, that it was a shame that the promotion of this album has been fumbling at best. This EP has some darn good songs, lyrics not withstanding, that deserve to be recognized by the general public.