David Lynch is a director whose dark, twisted worlds have garnered him a cult following since his 1977 student release,Â Eraserhead.Â His stories are always weird and never straightforward: several websites are dedicated to positing theories on the meaning and timeline ofÂ Mullholland Dr.
So when long-time fans of the highly talented surreal director found out he had another trick up his sleeveâ€”an albumâ€”they expected a re-emergence, this time in the music medium, of his Lynchian tropes.
Though those tropes do surface in Lynchâ€™s full-length debut, they are many parts that donâ€™t add up to a substantial album. Please believe that it pains us to critique any David Lynch product as â€œmediocre,â€ but this album doesnâ€™t contain enough material for over an hour of play. By the seventh track, the Kraftwerkian â€œStrange and Unproductive Thinking,â€ where Lynch Auto-Tunes his voice to imitate a computer speaking in exhausting run-on sentences, our patience is worn. That track goes on too long and gets nowhere, and every song after that is just a re-tread of the earlier tracks.
Overall,Â Crazy Clown TimeÂ could be described as a slow western boot-stomper. Lynch takes on a cartoonish drawl as he sings in tracks like â€œFootball Gameâ€ and â€œI Know.â€ The instrumental â€œThe Night Bell with Lightningâ€ is so genre it could be the theme song to Lynchâ€™s OK Corral (a terrifying place where thereâ€™s at least one dead lady in a plastic bag, but Special Agent Dale Cooper recommends the coffee). Yet, the album is not homogenous. Opener â€œPinkyâ€™s Dreamâ€ sounds like a lost Sonic Youth song, â€œGood Day Todayâ€ is chill dubstep, and â€œNoahâ€™s Arkâ€ is (appropriately) â€œthe song of love,â€ as Lynch whispers in the track.
Crazy Clown TimeÂ could be a soundtrack for Lynchâ€™s cumulative work. Echoing voices create an eerie atmosphere, populated with sexualized moaning and a violent undercurrent. This mix of sex and violence brings to mindÂ Blue VelvetÂ andÂ Twin PeaksÂ especially, and is most evident in the eponymous track. â€œCrazy Clown Timeâ€ is either about an impromptu orgy at a backyard picnic or a bar brawl that ends with a person on fire (walk with me). Lynchâ€™s high pitched helium voice as he describes the â€œcrazy clown timeâ€ scene is… just about as weird as it sounds. This song will be the soundtrack to your next nightmare.
Like stated earlier, thereâ€™s always more than one dimension to a Lynchian plot. So forÂ Crazy Clown TimeÂ to feel, of all things, superficial seems like a mistake. And it just might be. We posit our own theory, which, at the moment, we canâ€™t vouch, but that perhaps a more dedicated Lynch fan can prove: â€œPinkyâ€™s Dreamâ€ is the missing link in theÂ Mullholland Dr.story. It is the only song featuring a prominent female voice (none other than the Yeah Yeah Yeahâ€™s Karen O), and includes the lyrics, â€œPlease Pinky watch the road.â€Â Mullholland Dr.begins with a car crash, and centers around two female protagonistsâ€”or are they the same person? Or is one imaginary?Â Just a theory.Â Like we said, it would take someone much more dedicated and with a much larger whiteboard than ours, to piece it all together.
Theories aside, the next time Lynch is filming in a bar at 3 p.m. and needs music as depressing as the scene, heâ€™ll probably turn toÂ Crazy Clown Timeâ€™sÂ â€œThese are My Friends,â€ but you should turn to another album entirely for an enjoyable listen.
This article was originally published on AllMediaNY.com