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by on Nov 11, 2013

moses campbell, expectations, tape, album, lo-pie, 2013, lopie, lo pie, lo pie musicUpset // She’s Gone
Don Giovanni Records
.1/5 Pies

Recommended Track: Phone Calls

OK, so, let’s take a moment to talk about shitty albums. There are many kinds of shitty albums out there, and some are shittier than others. In my opinion, most shitty albums tend to fall into one of the following three categories, listed here in descending order of shittiness:

1. The interestingly shitty album: really ambitious, maybe ahead-of-its-time; a total failure, but in a heroic sort of way. You’ll listen all the way through, scratch your chin, respect the effort, and then probably never feel the need put it on again. Example: Billy Idol/Cyberpunk or Neil Young/Trans.

2. The inevitably shitty album: well-executed by talented musicians, this record is still doomed to fail because the thing the artist is trying to accomplish just kind of inherently sucks. Many examples, but let’s go with Flaming Lips/Zaireeka.

3. The pointlessly shitty album: the worst of the bunch, this album is the product of experienced musicians convening on a recording studio in order to phone it in completely. Nobody was asking for this record to be made; the world had zero need for it; yet here it is. Totally generic, this record is often a third-rate knockoff of the artist’s own earlier, better work. Example: latter-day Willie Nelson recordings. (Nothing against the man, but there’s a reason why he’s still playing “On The Road Again” at every live show.)

This new record by all-female supergroup Upset falls, hard, into the third category. I guess it’s going for a “throwback” pop-punk vibe, although in practice that translates to watered-down faux-“spunk” in an early-oughts mode which outdoes exactly nobody’s efforts dating from the actual period in question, while adding nothing new to the mix from the intervening ten years. Also, there’s a confusing “teen girl power, except we’re all grown-ass women and one of us is in her forties” thing going on. As I listened to this LP, I kept flashing back to that ca. 2000 Nickelodeon movie Snow Day. Not that I remember it well, but I’m pretty confident that if you substituted any track off She’s Gone for a song in the Snow Day soundtrack, it would change nothing except that it would be slightly worse.

Reviewing a category-3 shitty record is tough, because it all blends together in a horrible beige mass of mediocrity (note: possibly a self-defense mechanism, in that it’s therefore difficult to isolate any one detail to point to and say “There, that’s why it sucks so much”?). The short version would be: it sounds like a middle-aged person’s idea of teen angst, performed with all the passion of a green-card marriage. There’s just no real content here. “You think you know so much about me/No thank you”: this is nonsense if you think about it for more than ~3 seconds, yes, but that doesn’t stop them from repeating those two lines for like 2 minutes over three unchanging chords and then calling it a song.

I dunno, man. She’s Gone is basically just a big bummer, because you’re really rooting for these three musicians to crush it together. They definitely have the capacity, musically speaking, and that makes it even worse: it’s hard get yourself to listen to somebody talented failing to give a shit for half an hour. If you want, have a listen to “Phone Calls,” which, even if it sounds unsettlingly “alternative,” is at least a little bit more adventurous and possibly has some redeeming value: at some stage in the writing and recording process, somebody may actually have exerted effort to make it good. The rest of this ostensibly upbeat/fun LP is pretty much just a ticket to depression and disillusionment.

 

11 Comments

  1. no pie
    November 12, 2013

    hahaha dude, you’re the worst! the world has enough self-important rock critic losers, why don’t you try short stories or something? this is the most vicious pile of shit I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. it’s not just a simple “hey, this album wasn’t for me,” it looks more like one of these women murdered your family in front of you, and the only way to seek vengeance was to rip their album apart on your wimpy review site in between brazzers videos. go away.

    Reply
  2. S
    November 12, 2013

    I’m not the writer but I do write here and you know what some of us find vicious? This bland, tepid bullshitty form of 90 alt-y, guitar garage rock that people are trying to sliiiiide through as “music” or “a creative piece of art with intrinsic value.” It’s like it’s 2004 again.

    Get it right: You motherfuckers are not invincible! You’re ruining lives with your shitty music, you’re bullying the world into feeling positively about your mediocrity and no one wants to play the part of your well-meaning parents. We’re not here to wipe chapped asses. We’re not here to congratulate you and love you when your band is the sonic equivalent of grabbing an infant by the ankles and slamming it head first into a wall. You’re monsters! Every single one of you! Claws forged from the hooves of apathy, fangs made of stolen riffs and dripping with recycled ideas. You people are literally germs attacking good taste. Except what you do isn’t secret – it’s just retarded.

    Is that mean-spirited? Does that cause you displeasure? Well, now you know how *we* feel having to review the same old tired bullshit. We don’t have to voice our displeasure “simply” because there is nothing “simple” about how some of these bands find new ways to suck in increasingly complicated and nuanced ways.

    Reply
    • L
      November 12, 2013

      that was that most awesome reply to a “hey that was mean” comment ever.

      Reply
    • x
      November 12, 2013

      wow. i have completely lost all respect for lo pie. way to go.

      Reply
      • S
        November 14, 2013

        Dear Person who is hiding behind a one-letter name,

        If this review and reply made you magically, SUDDENLY lose respect for Lo-Pie then it stands to reason that you honestly, truly never gave a shit about us in the first place. This unfavorable review isn’t any different from the other low-scoring reviews, it just happened to be about a band you like. That’s all that happened! If someone saying something mean about a band you’ll probably forget exists until the next album comes out really bums you out then you need to check yourself. They are people in the Philippines who would KILL to be you, right now.

        Reply
        • no pie
          November 15, 2013

          but…… everyone at this point has been hiding behind a one-letter name. except for the original review of the review, where the author boldly decided hide behind a five-letter name.

          also, who said anything about liking this band? i never said they were good, i just said that this review was worse than any band could ever be.

          leave “x” alone. the poor guy was misguided enough to have had respect for your reviews in the first place!

          these original, but guess what — neither is 60′s psych (hence why there’s a specific decade attached to the genre).

          If only you people would take your lives more seriously!

          Reply
          • Owen
            November 15, 2013

            This comments section is getting xtra-silly. For what it’s worth, this review shouldn’t be taken as mean-spirited. I’ve liked some of their previous work and wanted this to be good. But instead it’s lazy and a placeholder, which is the worst thing an established artist can really do — it reveals a contempt for the listener. So I’m calling them on it. (An equally shitty record from a brand-new baby band would be less offensive just because it’s probably due to the band being shitty and not to good musicians failing to care.)

            Interesting: even the bros who got mad haven’t actually disagreed with anything I said about the record. If specifics were brought out it could be a more worthwhile discussion, maybe. My two cents.

  3. Boris
    November 13, 2013

    This song is really shit

    Reply
  4. S
    November 14, 2013

    P.S – Bonus points to Owen for being RIGHT. ON. THE. FUCKING. MONEY about Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk.

    Reply
  5. liv
    April 2, 2015

    you should be ashamed of yourselves

    Reply
  6. J
    September 19, 2015

    THESE CUNTS SHOULD BE SHIPPED OUT OF OUR COUNTRY.

    Reply

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