Sunday, January 11, 2009

IF DANIEL JOHNSTON WAS A RAPPER...


...he STILL wouldn't be as messed-up as Dan Bull, a 22-year-old self-described autistic, whose album "Safe" is so disturbing, it makes eminem sound like Doris Day. It's a mighty impressive debut, begging comparisons to The Streets, but if ya ax me, this dude's got much better flow. The music is similarly well-crafted.

It starts off fairly innocuous, with a wistful tale of summer, followed by a love song, and that's as happy as it gets - the lover spurns him, and he actually sounds like he's about to break down by the end of the song. From then on it's nothing but pain, alienation, loneliness, and dreams of oblivion to escape his torturous life. Happy New Year!

I don't get the "autistic" diagnosis, though. I thought autistics couldn't communicate? Dan Bull gets his thoughts across loud and clear. I hope it is a real mental health condition - otherwise, there'd be no excuse for a fucked-up lyric about "the day I die will be the greatest day since Sept. 11."

This tune is actually a catchy, musically up-beat, succinct (2 1/2 minute) rocker, if you don't mind lyrics that are along the lines of "mankind is doomed and we're all gonna die."

Dan Bull "Thistopia"

Listen to a lo-fi stream of all the songs here. Can someone in England please put a suicide watch on this guy?


UPDATE: Just got a note from the man himself, who clarifies: "I have a form of high-functioning autism (Asperger syndrome) that means I'm highly literate especially in contexts where I can plan out and write what I'm going to say - hence the wordiness of the album. It's social interaction, sensory overload and the resulting anxiety from these that I struggle with."

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