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Bunny Rabbit - Lovers and Crypts

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Artist: Bunny Rabbit

Album: Lovers and Crypts

Label: Voodoo Eros

Review date: Feb. 8, 2007

As a lad, I always found my dad’s wincing distaste for “bubblegum music” amusing. I wasn’t around for the ‘60s, when the old man was an aspiring greaser, satire geek and Music Machine fanatic. I didn’t have to hear “Yummy Yummy Yummy” over and over and over again on the AM, when I was waiting for something else and had nowhere else to go. I would never understand how offensive it was to him that younger people had honed a smirking, pseudo-academic “appreciation” for the sort of music that had once driven him to hormone-inflamed conniptions. And, as a teenager myself, I never really had to endure its analogue. Compared to the creations of Spector and Kasenetz-Katz in their day, kiddie punk, tween pop and jiggy rap aren’t that ubiquitous now. Alternatives can be found, and with numbing ease.

But, damn… it didn’t take today’s bubblegum (at least tween pop and jiggy rap) any time at all to find their reactionary, pointy-headed, (consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly) ironic champions. Walk into the wrong room, and you’re suddenly No Fun if you dismiss Hillary Duff and Yung Joc without a fair hearing. To admit that Justin Timberlake is not a Prince-level genius, or that Crazy Frog would embarrass Bill Drummond and Leo Burnett in equal measure, is to reveal some deep personal weakness, or to risk living in uninteresting times. But there’s nothing wrong with liking Kool Keith, too, so long as you're not all "rockist" about it.

It’ll be no big surprise that these Top 40 apologists rally behind Bunny Rabbit. Sasha Frere-Jones (articulate Top 40 apologist, witch-hunting race-baiter and New Yorker scribe) began the charge after Bunny Rabbit MySpace-friended him. Lovers And Crypts will likely start a lot of ostensibly music-based sociocultural arguments that I’m going to enjoy staying out of.

Like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” before it, Lovers and Crypts is too slight a record to bear the baggage it’s going to be saddled with. The tracks (laced by someone called Black Cracker) are a slipshod pastiche of the last 20 years of dance music – electroclash on a tight budget. Sometimes they’re disassociated and creepy, sometimes they’re marginally funky (or at least reminders of what funkiness feels like), but they’re never particularly interesting. Likewise, Bunny Rabbit’s rapping is a thin, girly, disturbingly affect-less string of low-level hip hop clichés, an adolescent mix of self-aggrandizement, mechanical sexuality and uninspired toilet talk.

The whole thing has the unmistakable vibe of a half-assed inside joke. At his most obtuse, Kool Keith always makes sense if you connected the dots; it’s just that the things he’s suggesting are more easily negotiated as stream-of-consciousness humor than as dark, paranoid pathology. By contrast, Bunny Rabbit’s pathology seems to be pure, terrified emptiness, the inability to communicate anything outside of twice-removed pop-cultural detritus. If these pampered Williamsburgers take this sort of attitude into their midlife crises, you can look for it in forthcoming editions of the DSM. But at least they won’t have to wait that long to be praised in the New Yorker.

By Emerson Dameron

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