A Little Less Crappy

David B. Wilson

Independent release, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Often, when I get flame mail for a review I've written, the author trues to throw a 50-ton zinger at me: "Maybe you'd understand if you played a musical instrument...blah, blah, blah."

Well, here's a surprise: I do play musical instruments. In my life, I've played piano, drums, trumpet (which I had to give up because of my asthma... and because I sucked at it), bass guitar and guitar. I've even written songs, and at one point in my life, I recorded a tape of my own music that I distributed to my friends. (Some of them are ex-friends now, though I don't think it was because of this tape.)

But there's a reason that music critics do what they do - partially, I believe it's because we are frustrated musicians. (You'll note I never claimed I played my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 well - I was a good rhythm guitarist, but I never could handle leads.) So, I stick with what I know I can do well. One of my colleagues in this field, David B. Wilson, might have been wise to do just that with his self-released CD, A Little Less Crappy.

Almost entirely executed by Wilson (who writes for the site "Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews"), save for some vocals from Lisa Ferber, Wilson tackles his own creations like a midget going after a defensive tackle - someone's gonna get hurt bad. The songwriting isn't the strongest in the world - c'mon, "Lousy Produce (Your Neighborhood's Got)"? - and the execution isn't the greatest, either (though one should give Wilson some kudos for tackling everything himself).

One big problem Wilson has is that he doesn't always sing on key - and this is painfully evident on tracks like "(Make The World) A Little Less Crappy". If I had to listen to this song one more time, I was going to lie down in front of traffic on the expressway. Things don't get much better on songs like "Créme Brulèe In A Paper Cup," "Funk Is Alive And It Lives In Your Butt" (George Clinton, your job as the Funkmaster is safe) and "Instant Parent" - on which Ferber's vocals are as pleasing as running one's fingernails up and down a chalkboard. Eek.

Another problem is that Wilson often overstays his welcome with his songs. "Let's Send Everybody Back" might - might - have been an okay song had he not stretched the idea out so thinly, to the point where he's bored the listener to tears by the time he reaches the anticlimax. As for other songs like "A Mysterious Pile Of Garbage," it goes without saying that Wilson is no Shel Silverstein.

I'm not saying that Wilson shouldn't have recorded his own CD - he burned the disc and designed the package himself, so no one else got hurt. But sometimes, one's own creations are best kept private, or circulated among one's closest friends - after all, they're the ones who are the least likely to beat you to death with the stereo speakers.

But, hey, maybe one day I'll make it up to Wilson, and I'll dig up a copy of the tape I recorded way back in 1993 and send it to him for his own lambasting. Until then, it's best to take A Little Less Crappy and flush it.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Wilson and Alroy is my other favorite record review site. I'm surprised to hear that he was offended by your review. Even though I like to read their reviews, I often disagree with their reviews. Wilson has unfairly ripped some really good R&B music. I can tell that they have no idea what they're listening to. I would really like to hear this record just to hear what this music critic considers worth recording, and why you gave it an F.
Sorry that David was offended by my review - but just because you send me a free copy of a CD doesn't guarantee I'm gonna kiss an artist's ass. If you're gonna send a disc out for critical commentary, you'd better be prepared for the slings and arrows. As for why I gave it an "F" - read the review. Going off memories of a disc I listened to a decade ago (and no longer have), I thought the songwriting was bad, the singing was bad, and the overall execution was bad.

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