Dusted Reviews

Bobby Conn - Macaroni

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Bobby Conn

Album: Macaroni

Label: Fire

Review date: May. 18, 2012

Considering I get my fill of leftwing political opinion from Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald these days, Bobby Conn’s political content is immensely of less interest to me than the musical content of his songs, though we should be certainly glad that some people are lyrically discussing these things. The world certainly doesn’t need any more middle-of-the-road second-person-pronoun romantic ballads, and considering the last 12 years have brought us a never-ending war, an ever-expanding surveillance state and zero prosecutions over the massive financial fraud that led to the collapse in 2008, it’s nice to have some people tackling more than just unrequited love.

But songs can only capture so much about any given topic, and Conn seems less interested in making a genuine political point on than he does just using it as a lyrical fodder. Not that he isn’t truly enthusiastic about politics. But unlike Rage Against the Machine or something like that, it’s not about pedantic sloganeering; it’s just what interests Conn and what he’s passionate about. Which is a good thing, as the broadness of any topic – political or romantic – is directly proportional to its meaninglessness, as any Frat dude yelling “Freedom!” in 1992 could probably attest to now, while chatting with you in some hotel bar somewhere, as he figures out what to do with his one free night in town.

That’s why what’s much more novel about Conn – on his other albums and certainly his latest one Macaroni – is that musically he’s so odd and interesting. I’ve seen him described in other reviews as “psychedelic pop,” but that seems to be shorthand for something people are finding difficult to get a handle on. I haven’t had much interest in or exposure to Frank Zappa, but for some reason, he comes to mind when listening to Bobby Conn. Not that Macaroni sounds like a Zappa album, but rather its political content, its marriage of pop and avant-garde sensibilities and the protean nature of the album bring him to mind. Songs go from avant-pop to Bowie-esque glam to post-punk to Switched On Bach-ish Moog to modern composition – an album this varied constantly keeps listener on their toes and interested in the music. A pop album that creates an active listening experience is a rare and good thing, and Conn certainly makes it worthwhile.

And despite its multifaceted nature, the album always sounds like it’s the product of one perspective, another difficult feat to pull off. Sadly, avant-pop isn’t exactly in high-demand (avant-anything, to be frank), perhaps because of the reasons just outlined (the lyrical content, the active listening experience), but regardless, Macaroni is an album that deserves to be heard.

By Andrew Beckerman

Other Reviews of Bobby Conn

King for a Day

Read More

View all articles by Andrew Beckerman

Find out more about Fire

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.