Art is weird, man. A glimpse into the inner workings of an artist’s brain can be both awesome and terrifying. It can inspire or overwhelm. What is for certain is that when someone truly invites you into their deepest psyche, you’re going to get something pure, unadulterated, and—yes, probably—weird.
This is the case for Busdriver’s latest album Perfect Hair. The cluttered and digressive nature of the album makes listening like plugging your headphones directly into the artist’s neurosis. Yet, Busdriver never gets too lost in his own mind and is able to project his kaleidoscopic thoughts outward in a palatable manner. “Upsweep” has soaring, theatrical musical lines that seem fit for the stage with lyrics full of angst and despair (“I swear I can hear myself dying just a little bit”) that would fit in just as well. In “Retirement Ode,” Driver delves into the commercialism of music by telling us just how much the production of Perfect Hair might cost over a buzzing, punchy beat. And “Colonize the Moon” details Busdriver’s proclivity to discuss “world leaders and street fashion.” The range of topics and sounds is so varied and hurried, it’s hard to imagine these songs coming from anywhere else but a singular, hyperactive brain. Forget the beats and features, this is a one-man show.
Well maybe don’t completely forget the beats and features. “Ego Death” provides a dark, foreboding beat from Jeremiah Jae for Driver to show off his double time skills. The highlight, however, is when Danny Brown gets a chance to sound his vocal equivalent of an air horn that he’s so well-known for. The big, bouncy beat Kenny Segal serves up on “Eat Rich” perfectly allows Driver to verbally stomp around like an inflatable party castle. Not to be outdone, Driver’s own production on “Bliss Point” is an aural bazaar that is no doubt what bliss probably sounds like to him.
“All my memories have been compressed to megabytes.” These are Busdriver’s words from the track “When the Tooth-lined Horizon Blinks,” a title itself so confounding yet provocative that a listener can’t help but wonder just what experience inspired it. And that’s the appeal of Perfect Hair. Even in its scatter-brained nature, everything feels cultivated from the mind of someone whose goal is to share—or should I say transmit—it to an audience. “Can’t You Tell I’m a Sociopath,” one track from the album asks. After listening to Perfect Hair, I’m not so sure that question is rhetorical anymore.
MP3: Busdriver featuring Aesop Rock & Danny Brown “Ego Death”