3.01.2013

Adam Ant is The BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner's Daughter Review



I must admit that I am a huge life-long fan of Adam Ant. And I’m not just talking about getting caught up with the short-lived mania over Strip and Goody-Two Shoes during the early days of MTV either. I was only 9 years old when I listened to Dirk Wears White Socks on Vinyl by the completely unknown group known as Adam and the Ants. I thought my big brother would kill me when I tried placing it next to his LPs and 8-tracks of Led Zeppelin, Kiss and Queen. My big sisters didn’t much care for it being next to their copies of Neil Diamond, Barry Mannilow and Leif Garrett either. But I didn’t care. I was hooked.

I bought every album, LPs at first, Cassettes, then a box set on CD. I have every single Adam Ant song in MP3 format now and from time to time I still enjoy
listening to some of my old favorites. Remember on the Matrix when they looked so cool when entering the Matrix and it’s explained that this is their residual self image. Were I to hack into the Matrix I would look like Adam Ant circa 1984. I mean he was such a stud, all in leather jolly roger pirate gear, war paint, and constantly surrounded by an endless sea of ginormous heaving cleavage normally clad in Victorian era dresses. And the music was so awesome. Heaving drum beats produced by dual drum sets, spaghetti-western guitar riffs, a complete horn section and an ample amount of animalistic screaming. Lyrics mostly about sadomasochistic sex with a spattering of just general goofiness. What wasn’t there to like about Adam Ant.

But then the 80’s ended and I grew up and it looked like Adam Ant did as well. The 1990 release of Manners and Physique showed Adam still in leather but sitting down in a throne-like chair. Gone was the war paint and the attitude, replaced by a simple pleased look on his face that suggested he was looking over all he had done with great satisfaction. The songs still full of energy and pizzazz but not over the top. 1995 brought what everyone assumed was his swan-song album Wonderful where the leather was gone and here was a middle aged man who had been there and done that. Gone from the songs were the jagged edges of youth and replaced with soulful reflection on a long and difficult life, perhaps tinged with some sadness.

For the next 17 years all we heard about Adam Ant is that he apparently was slowly slipping into insanity and not the kind that sells albums. We’re talking about the throwing stray car alternators through Pub windows because he was “told” there were threats against him and his family kind of insanity. And what’s up with London that there’s old alternators just laying around on the sidewalks? Adam was repeatedly institutionalized for his rapidly increasing crazy behavior and again, I figured he’s done, gone, finished. Then to my complete surprise I find out he’s released a new album and has been touring Europe and America.

I immediately bought his new album “Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter”. And I found myself instantly perplexed. The songs are great and perverse and awesome just like his early days, but now that I’m 42 it just sounds like a bunch of damn noise. I grew up and I thought he had also (he’s 59 after all). Confused, I turned to YouTube to watch the video for “Cool Zombie” and couldn’t stop laughing. He’s back to his Jolly Roger Pirate attire with the addition of Jack Sparrow facial hair, but he comes across more like Captain Crunch than Juanito the randy Bandito. His waistline is bulging, and he can barely move let alone dance. It’s embarrassing. Grow up already. He’s surrounded himself with a couple well-cleavaged hotties in his band but from their facial expressions they appear to be there against their will. The only upshot is the album cover for this album. This chick looks so much like my wife did when I married her that I’m resigned to the fact that Adam Ant didn’t marry the Gunner’s daughter, I apparently did. I’m fine with that by the way.

Everything from the title, to the track titles (“Punkyoungirl”, “Who’s A Goofy Bunny?”, “Bullshit” and “Dirty Beast” to name a few), from the music itself to his new old look screams “I’m still in my 20s and I’m still cool, so love me”. Give it up. Critically the music is scoring very high among far greater minds in the music industry than me and I’m not going to argue with that. I give Adam Ant is The BlueBlack Hussar Marrying The Gunner's Daughter 4 stars. I just worry that he has truly gone completely batsh*t crazy once and for all.

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