September 16, 2004

Test Spin: Shifty

Print More

A single phrase can cripple an empire and, in the case of the United States, that unfortunate formulation will probably be “Shify’s solo album is out.” Reviewing Shifty’s new album is tantamount to reviewing the infinite cosmos: it doesn’t really make sense and, in the end, doesn’t even matter. And both are about unlimited, unknowable chaos. Does anyone doubt that the Crazy Town frontman made this album solely to pay off a mortgage, get laid once or twice, and insult the listener’s attention span and intellect? Let’s not consider this a criticism; it is inconceivable for even Shifty himself to respect his own output.

Needless to say, Shifty’s album is horrendous. This is the sort of statement that is innate in all of us at birth. To begin, Shifty is the D-grade, camp-counselor version of Fred Durst. This is rather remarkable when we consider that Durst is already a D-grade, camp-counselor version of himself. The song, “Magical,” is perhaps the most nauseating confluence of genres ever assembled: piercingly sugary pre-pop, unnervingly sterile hip-hop that sounds like someone dropping a wicker basket every few seconds for the entire album, and maudlin Mutt Lange “country” schlock.

The liner notes clearly indicate this is a stoner album, and if that demographic has given up Bob Marley and Minor Threat for Shifty, this is the worst year to be a stoner since 1348. With its cloying, two-note keyboard lines, the album’s sort of like Dave & Ansel Collins produced by, well, Shifty. Lyrically, it’s not much worse than a slightly salacious Raffi: “I wanna sex you up/ Let me hold it down.” You can practically visualize the slow, simple hand gesticulations. Let’s just get this out of the way: His Minnie Ripperton cover is called “EZ Cuz You’re Beautiful.” This is admittedly interesting, but only for the sheer exhilaration of watching Shifty deem it necessary to correctly punctuate a contraction.

But in the interest of balance and the complete dissolution of this disastrous review, here’s a gestalt of defenses (Note: At this point, I’m not sure I know what I’m making fun of. It’s probably either little kids or the concept of enthusiasm): “I think the album is fabulous for people who have fun in life, the album brings the sun to shine. You have reggae, pop, and up-tempo songs on that record but also songs with great lyrics. I mean Butterfly was my JAM! This album is way better then Crazy Town. As we reach the 3rd verse we are reminded of a Blink-182 hit then the music smoothly drifts us away with “awws” and “ohhhs” that throws Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray right at us. Perhaps if this song came before the others Shifty would be Britney Spears’s American Idol. And believe me, selling 3 Million albums world wide isn’t something to brag about.”

Archived article by Alex Linhardt
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer