PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


The Grouch: Three Eyes Off the Time

The Grouch, an otherwise talented MC and sometimes-producer, churns out one of his career's most boring and uninspired albums.

The Grouch

Three Eyes Off the Time

Label: Legendary Music
US Release Date: 2009-12-08
UK Release Date: Import

Branching out -- or even trying something a little different -- as an artist is not an easy task. Typically, this move is met with immediate hostility from fans and haters alike. The term "sell out" will likely get thrown around quite often. And the critics will have a field day. Unfortunately, this is too often the norm. But, to be fair, when it does occur, the fault usually rests on the shoulders of the artist. In this case, the artist to blame is the Grouch, a supremely talented MC who phones in an album filled with uninspired hyphy production from DJ Fresh. While it would be a stretch to say the Grouch hasn't spit over the handclap-ridden West Coast production before, he's never done it quite like this. And he's also never sounded so damn bored.

Three Eyes Off the Time kicks off with an introduction from the Grouch, who wants to let the world know just how amazing his life is with his wife and daughter. And he continues with this vibe on the second track, "Daddy’s Home", a flute- and harp-driven headnodder that actually features vocals from his daughter and wife. These types of proclamations are nothing knew from this Living Legend, who celebrates life as often as he criticizes society’s ills. But unlike Brother Ali, who was upbeat on parts of his latest opus Us, the Grouch is merely recycling thoughts we have heard from him before. "Whatever I Say", for one, is basically the regurgitated version of "Daddy’s Home". The same even goes for an otherwise endearing and catchy joint in "Allieverwantedwas".

While his skills in the booth are undeniable, that doesn’t mean the Grouch gets a pass on here. He sleepwalks through the haunting "I Love This Game", which features one of DJ Fresh’s better beats. But instead of matching the production, the Grouch simply rehashes line after line. And it all sounds a lot like an aging comedian whose jokes have now become littered with parenting quips and witty remarks about his family life. It’s true that you cannot expect an MC to stick to his or her script, so to speak. When it sounds like you recorded most of your bars while sleeping on the couch, though, maybe you should have kept this one in the vault.

What is most frustrating about Three Eyes Off the Time is the fact the Grouch’s collaboration with Eligh, Say G&E!, was one of 2009’s best. Perhaps the Grouch needed his fellow Living Legend around to give him a boost. Or maybe he’s just not that strong of a solo artist anymore, which seems likely after 15 years in the game. And that's not much of a stretch considering his consistent output and the fact that a lot of artists struggle when it comes to going solo. Sure, he dropped several fine solo efforts in the '90s. But if you heard his last album, 2008's Show You the World, you knew the Grouch hasn't truly delivered aside from his verses on the aforementioned Say G&E! and a few guest spots. Hopefully he can recover in 2010, especially after his tour with Mistah F.A.B. and Fashawn, who appear on this record’s last and best track.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.