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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Icky Boyfriends
A Love Obscene
Menlo Park Recordings

Rating: 0/10 ?

August 24, 2005
Rating: WTF?/10

The Icky Boyfriends defy criticism. The first thing that comes to my mind after listening to A Love Obscene is, "This is the worst album I have ever listened to." This initial response prompts me to grab for the low numbers on the rating dial and pitch the 2-disc set out the window, but I won't. The problem is that the Icky Boyfriends are trying to make the worst album I have ever listened to, and in that regard they are a complete success. Should I lambaste them for sucking, or praise them for being so dedicated to anti-art? After a few run-throughs of the 61-song collection, I have come to the conclusion that A Love Obscene totally rocks... in theory. In practice, I can't stand to hear it one more time.

I can't, in good conscience, recommend this disc, nor can I talk about its redeeming qualities with a straight face. There are no redeeming qualities, in fact; you can't dance, sing along, or even enjoy A Love Obscene in any capacity. Jonathan Swift screams on and on about blowjobs, feline rub-downs, menstruation and a guy named Frank in an off-key, heavily-distorted caterwaul. Meanwhile, the "band" slaps together a chord or two and smacks drums arbitrarily. This all makes sense when Swift yelps, "Fuck that rock star crap!" on "Nightshade Family." The Icky Boyfriends couldn't be less appealing.

But somehow, that isn't entirely bad. If Swift were to read this review, he would be happy to hear that I hate the band's music and call the Icky Boyfriends "like shitty no-fi, but way worse." I'm sure that's what they were going for. In opposition to almost every band that has gone before them, the Icky Boyfriends do not want to make likeable music; they want to make intolerable, chaotic noise as an expression against music and the music industry.

In this sense, I give them a hearty head-nod. It takes persistence to be this counterculture; "I'm not fascinating!" is one of several choruses to A Love Obscene's piece de resistance, "Frank: A Rock Opera," which is a reaction against rock star-ness in all its music video, backstage pass, messianic forms. On "New Kids," Swift mocks New Kids On The Block as the quintessential pop-star group during a performance: "What's your favorite thing to eat?/A girl in the back cried out/Donny scratched his chin/That's the hardest question anybody's asked me!" This song is hilarious for a few reasons: 1. Swift half-imitates The New Kids' voices like a seven year-old; 2. New Kids On The Block is a comically outdated reference; and 3. The satire of stardom is delivered in a slimy, hideous package, making it all the more effective. But does anyone buy records for this type of cultural criticism? I suppose some people own Negativland CDs, but I think typically people buy music because they like the way it sounds, sociology be damned.

It pains me to say you'll either love it or hate it, but that is what it boils down to. If you are into outsider art and are familiar with names like Don Van Vliet and Jean Arp, A Love Obscene is a must have for your anti-establishmentarianism collection. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an album to enjoy, giving the Icky Boyfriends a once-over could be the worst decision you ever made. Swift and friends should be very proud.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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