Chris Lake: Crazy

Crazy should probably be more unrestrained

Chris Lake


US Release: 2009-05-05
Label: Nervous
UK Release: 2009-05-05

"I pass the main square / This place is way too techno" seems like a throwaway line from Chris Lake's "Tokyo", the opening track off his debut long player, but it appropriately describes that particular song's placation on the album. For too much of Crazy, Lake lingers in the main square, the hegemony of techno, wherein that term stands for what rockist naysayers and philistine luddites peg it as: conventional, utilitarian, mollifying, and indulgent. Chakra for vacationing capitalists. Yet Lake thinks he's also making a pop album, and we almost believe him. "Tokyo" contains the massive bassline and ecstatic pop sheen of a breakout success. The uncredited female singer's vocals vie for the throne of alterna-pop goddesses like Annie, Kylie, Robyn, or Soffy O, a confident pop partnership complete with muscular riffage and beats that are not bound to a corpuscular chauvinism.

Contrast this with the lead single "Carry Me Away", arpeggiated by the same tepid Thorazine-drooling Ibiza dreck that insufferably bland acts like Faithless, Chicane, Darude, late era Oakenfold, or any of the rest of the tripe who inexplicably rose to prominence in the latter half of the previous decade and doesn't seem poised to leave us anytime soon. It's the kind of music befitted to bourgeois ideals of elegance that are as at home under the influence of roofless narco-spa nightclubs as they are flattering the background of your cable access PowerPoint presentation. Judging by the strength of "Tokyo", which would likely enervate any album that followed it (though particularly one as frustratingly de-spirited as this one), Chris Lake is a talented enough producer to not need the four-on-the-floor metronome to guarantee his dancefloor playability. Unfortunately, his players' vocal strategy is for the voice to dominate just enough to distinguish itself from the square of “pure techno” but never to emerge autonomously enough in the mix to be anything other than an enslaved passenger to the beat. There are hints -- the triumphalist synth-pop riff of "Give In", the Britney-on-the-march vigor of "Crazy", and the new electro-tech funk Wah of "Words” -- that suggest Lake will one day be up to the task, but he's too busy servicing those for whom "too techno" is a bad thing.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.