Once you reach a certain age it’s difficult to become excited about new music. No matter what it is, you’ve heard it before. Which makes you all grumbly and get-off-my-lawn-y.
So it’s fantastic when something new comes along and grabs you even in your dotage. Right now for me that’s South African weirdos Die Antwoord with their album Ten$Ion—high-concept white trash mixing ’90s rap, trance and seriously foul language in both English and Afrikaans into something that’s earned heavy rotation in my car for the last several weeks.
I should add, in my car when I’m driving alone without my young daughter, as the explicit tag on Ten$Ion is highly earned. Seriously, I don’t speak Afrikaans, but I know they’re doing a lot of cursing in it. And I do speak English and I certainly know they’re cursing.
But cursing and rolling Rs aside, Ten$Ion brings a mix of high-end production values, technical skills—white people can rap! who knew?—and punk art-school ethic to put a band in the mainstream while at the same time completely apart from it.
Not to say there aren’t problems. Some tracks go off the rails in spectacular fashion. But weirdly, that’s a frisson in its own way. It’s OK that I just listened to three minutes of foul-mouthed idiocy: It’s part of the thing.
Basically, Ten$Ion is like if Eminem was bilingual, had 20 more IQ points, went to art school, and was best friends with a very interesting female rapper.
I can’t stop listening to Ten$Ion. It’s one of those very few albums that are completely out of left field while at the same time supremely catchy.
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