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Thursday, May 17, 2012

GEP's Initial Listen Report Card: We the Poet

Who or what is Zendik?  Well, until today, I thought Zendik was simply a band that recorded some album titled We the Poet that I bought from a hippie at a music festival in Charlotte, North Carolina ten or so years ago and never listened to.  I can't remember why I even bought this thing.  Was the hippie dude's sales pitch really that amazing?  I was pretty free with my money back then--tossing five spots at every homeless person who crossed my path, cramming bills into any tip jar I could find--but if I'm remembering correctly, I think I paid ten whole dollars for this thing.  Damn, that hippie must've sweet talked me somethin' fierce.

So, yeah, I purchased We the Poet from some weirdo while standing in the hot, hot sun watching the guitarist from Cracker do yet another over-the-top, goofball guitar solo at the edge of the stage.  I bought it, took it home, forgot about it. The fact that it has traveled with me from Charlotte to Buies Creek to Raleigh, from shabby apartment to shabbier apartment, and finally to the home I share with my wife and child, is amazing.  Not so amazing is the fact that I've never listened to even a second of it until today.  I do that a lot--purchase albums and never listen to them.  Or, rather, skip through them, find two or three songs I like, and ignore the remainder of the album for months and months.  I do this with bands I like.

Anyway, what is Zendik?  Your best bet is to check out this Zendik FAQ that I discovered while conducting my own research, written by someone who's actually been there.  Essentially, Zendik is a cult for outsider artist types, and not even the good kind of cult with orgies and stuff.  (I urge you to check out the link.  There is some fascinatingly creepy stuff going on at that farm, man.)

It's been 10 years, so, I guess I felt like I owed it to myself to finally give We the Poet a listen.  "Maybe it's really good," I said to myself.  Was I right?  Let's find out.

1. "What Happened to Rock 'N Roll" -- F
A strange, but not terrible, pseudo-metal intro goes horribly awry when Zendik's lead singer/cult leader, Arol, starts sing-shouting in a tone deaf, marble-mouthed voice about how rock music has been ruined by money and profits and corporate control.  "They took my money," Arol shouts at one point.  "They" didn't take your money, you idiot, you gave it to them.  Quit whining and, I don't know, go check on this year's tomato crop at ole Zendik Farm.  

Oh, by the way, this song is over ten minutes long.

2. "My Life Would Sing" -- F
What kind of song goes with a title like that, ya think?  Something poppy and fun, maybe?  Wrong.  "My Life Would Sing" is Zendik's take on "The End" by The Doors.  Arol's voice sounds like somebody's grandma emptied every bottle in the liquor cabinet down her throat and recorded herself singing along with the radio.

3. "How Many" -- D
This is probably as good a time as any to tell you that We the Poet is completely improvised.  That being said: oh, brudder, the lyrics on this one. Sludge in the sky?  Who's putting sludge in the sky, Arol, huh?  How does sludge even stay suspended in the sky?  And what ocean has ever run dry? Seriously, where are these huge expanses of desert where Earth's oceans used to be?  What are you mumbling about now, Grandma?  Take the dumb, obvious, "woe is me Mother Earth is in trouble you guys" lyrics out though and you've got a pretty funky little instrumental.

4. "Last Chance Blues" -- F 
Not technically the blues, aside from Arol whining about how she cries sometimes or whatever.  Question: Why did this violin player, listed simply as Mazz in the CD insert, lend any of her time and talent to this garbage band? What, did Arol threaten to take her dessert privileges away?  If you've checked out that Zendik FAQ, you'd know that this isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Mazz is talented.  The rest of the song sounds like "Audrey's Dance" if the jukebox at the Double R Diner was broken.

5. "Girl Could Dance" -- F
9 minutes and 51 seconds?!  Really, Zendik?

6. "Never Had A Chance" -- F
I figured this album would be bad, but, c'mon!  This is insane!  There is no one on this planet who could possibly derive any pleasure from listening to this record.  Honestly.  Are Bakhu, Bugz, Finny, Kord, Mazz, and Krisp (AKA, Arol's backing band) proud of this hunk of shit?  It's nothing but improvised noise accompanied by the caterwauling of a withered old crone with the most unoriginal ideas about everything ever.  This album plays like The Doors without Ray Manzarek's keyboards.  Are you starting to get it?

7. "River In My Mind" -- F
This is the third song on We the Poet that opens with the words "how many," which I'm assuming is the most common phrase people think of when improvising song lyrics.  Dammit, I hope Mazz got out of this cult successfully. She deserves so much better.

8. "Gambler" -- F 

9. "Let It Rip" -- F
More like "Let Me Skip (It)."

This is without a doubt the worst thing I've ever heard.  I have half a mind to march down to that farm and demand my money back.

In summation, fuck We the Poet.

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