April 17, 2003

Test Spin: Barnyard Playboys

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Six years ago, R&B’s Erykah Badu revealed artists’ sensitivity about their work and urged audiences to listen to music with freer, less critical ears. Unfortunately, Badu didn’t warn us about artists who are just insensitive to their audiences altogether — artists like the Barnyard Playboys, whose “crude” take on music appears sub-par, even in a sea of carbon copy and ready-made bands.

Somewhere between ’98 and now, music appeared to be headed in a different direction, a new frontier where rock institutions like Green Day wouldn’t even be able to settle. Nature’s failure to select the Playboys as the new blood of their genre leaves them peerless in the worst way; sonically, they’re more Ray Stevens than Sugar Ray. Obnoxious cuts like “Mama’s Big Behind” and “Turd in the Mail” hearken back to the glory days of Jimmie’s Chicken Shack or The Bloodhound Gang, when sheer spectacle outshone actual ability. On Corn Dog Love, the Barnyard Playboys aren’t really trying to provoke thought or a good time, instead, they coin an exclusive sound that you really don’t have to think much about to enjoy or hate.

Archived article by Justin Finch