So you and a couple other guys are at someone’s house drinking. Someone calls some girls over, and when they get there, one of the guys you’re with, of course, has a guitar. When sober, he’s mister musician, but now he’s drunk, so he’s still gonna sing some songs (don’t you fret), but these are off-the-cuff improvisation songs. He goes ahead and sings, and they aren’t bad, rhymes stuck in the right place, but as usual with these simple-tone drunk songs, they don’t make as much sense as usually expected, leading to laughs, not quite directed at or with mister musician, instead laughing on him, under him, in a completely different relationship than expected. This mister musician is Brian Dewan’s Words of Wisdom.
The songs on this album really do sound like a confident master composing something in his head the second before he plays it, singing words as they come to his head. The greatly repeated choruses in many of the songs is probably what is responsible for me saying this, as such a chorus would serve an impromptu musician well, serve him as a starting point, a resting point. Regardless of the true purpose of these loud-sounding repetitions they often serve the listener humorously because of their pure ubiquity and boisterousness, pushing the envelope of obnoxiousness, such as in the song “The Civil War.” Other times the chorus isn’t so much boisterous as it is deadpan, and other times, its hard to tell if it really is deadpan or if it’s the amount of repetition that makes it seem so, the listener being able to predict every up and down of the melody. Regardless, I find it all very silly, and so I laugh. Others might find it obnoxious, but that just how they find it.
At other times, its hard to tell the difference between Words of Wisdom and a children’s album, except for maybe the mature themes dealt with, such as death and the devil, though these are dealt with in such a sing-along-song melody that it is hard to imagine any offense be taken if a two year old is plopped in front Mr. Dewan. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking offense at this album. It is simply too silly. Even those who look down upon silly music like Words of Wisdom as a joke that burns itself out won’t be able to hold up their front in the face of Dewan’s lyrics. Words of Wisdom is music made around the premise of having good time, and people who take a stance against fun and games aren’t going to have much fun being a stick in the mud by themselves. Though this is not to say that everything in the album has a plastered smile on its face. There are some quite serious songs, such as “The Mirimachi Fire,” but its seriousness is hard to grasp in the midst of all the silliness. If you reach for it though, that is when it hits you, and suddenly Words of Wisdom is a different album.
Mono Puff – It’s Fun to Steal
Frank Black – Teenager of the Year
Adam Green – Jacket Full of Danger