Ain't Ain't Ain't
Anti- Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/03/2012
The number of artists who made substantial careers following a one-hit wonder stint is pretty slim. In fact, you’d be hard to pressed more than a few who didn’t immediately leave the music industry after their 15 minutes were up. Of course that hasn’t stopped Tim Fite, who has made quite a credible name for himself in the area of indie folk/hip-hop since his time as one half of Little T & One Track Mike. Seeing heavy MTV rotation for the video for “Shaniqua,” the clever white boy hip-hop duo was an immediate sensation, though they dissolved pretty quickly after their brief stint with success.
Since then, Fite has proved to be quite a workhorse, consistently releasing well received discs that have spanned indie rock, folk, country, and hip-hop. Often using themes with his records, he’s created albums with samples entirely from records he bought for less than a $1, and with Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t he just wrapped up his trilogy of Ain’t themed records.
While his first two creations in the trilogy addressed adult issues, here Fite goes the opposite direction, dissecting the agony, pain, and hope of teenage life. Nearly all the teenage rites of passage and time honored traditions are addressed here, including first love, heartbreak, bullying, petty fights, and much more. However, this is far from a juvenile listen. In fact, Fite’s eloquent delivery and sophisticated instrumentation is a very mature effort, this time Fite opting to record all the instruments and various noisemakers in a studio (his prior work is very sample-heavy). His vision here is completely timeless, his approach intimate and layered in beauty with an odd pop template, though that only seems fitting considering his unorthodox method of creating this disc.
Essentially sifting through bits and pieces of hundreds of various sounds, notes, chords, riffs and even mistakes, Fite pieced together a masterpiece of a jigsaw puzzle here over four years that amazingly doesn’t sound like a disjointed mess. Rather, it is like a folk pop/subdued singer songwriter with some chamber pop influence and a smattering of calm country-rock. The recording is top notch – each instrument or random sound is illuminated perfectly – while the wordplay covers both the hardest points of adolescence as well as the most euphoric. Very few artists could take this approach and make something this captivating; this is truly a work of art.