Jad Fair – Beautiful Songs (The Best of Jad Fair) (Fire)
by Scott Creney
Fire Records has released a 3CD compilation that spans the entire career of Jad Fair, including his work with Half Japanese.
This music has the power to change your life forever, and possibly not for the better.
The University of Georgia, culturally as well as geographically, dominates Athens. (Look up and to your right if you’re wondering why I’m talking about Georgia — NO, not at your ceiling dipshit. Up and to your right on the computer screen.) So when a big event takes place at UGA (that’s an abbreviation, I’m pretty sure the A stands for Annoying) — like a football game, or a tractor pull — it affects the entire town. The University held graduation ceremonies this past Friday night. For the other six years I’ve lived here, commencement always happened on a Saturday afternoon. But not this year.
The University probably decided it didn’t want these overprivileged goober shitheads around any longer than they had to be. A gesture I wholeheartedly support, but they at least could have let us know. Traffic in Athens was, to put it mildly, a clusterfuck.
So as I sat in gridlock for nearly an hour, dodging the Southern aristocracy while attempting to navigate the mile-and-a-half between my apartment and my destination, I started to feel this boiling rage. Watching these obese pig-faced fathers and grandpas waddling across the street, and the large hunks of jewelry on the bony spotted fingers of their wives, I started to better understand the appeal of Odd Future. I wanted to play that shit really loud. With the windows down. I wanted to scare the old white people. At the very least, I wanted to annoy them.
Instead I played a Half Japanese album. Jad Fair has the power to disturb a crowd of people more than Tyler the Creator and his conventional ‘scary black kid’ persona could ever hope to.
Everyone loves an underdog. That’s what they say at least. But as Simon Reynolds once wrote, “People are a bunch of stupid fucking liars”.
Check out all those Hollywood sports movies where the scrappy upstart wins the day. But in real life, Manchester United is the most popular team in soccer/football, the New York Yankees are the most popular team in baseball, and (I’m guessing) the most popular team in Australian Rules Football is the Queensland Kangaroos. Or what about those movies where the nerd, the loser, gets the cheerleader? A fantasy.
Because if people really did root for the underdog, if they really did want the unlikely nerd to be the hero, then Jad Fair would be a household name. And the world of music would be a better place. The narcissists would be a little more humble, the chest-beaters would do a little more whispering, and qualities like spontaneity, humor, originality and surprise would be considered a little more valuable. But sadly, we live in a world where people still believe in royalty, and they still want their rockstars to look like Kings Of Leon.
Like The Fall compilation 50,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong, this album makes a perfect introduction to Jad’s music for a newcomer. It’s a sound that, once you’ve heard it, will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will change the way you dream, the way you eat, and hopefully change the way you make love — if only you’d allow it to. Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself.