September 21, 2006

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DJ Shadow, The Outsider
Umvd Labels, 2006

Wow! What a crap shoot this record is. The Outsider stands somewhere between an easy paycheck for DJ Shadow and a mixtape recorded by a 14-year-old.

A few months back, Shadow released the track “3 Freaks” from The Outsider, a polished and glitzy track of Southern-esque rap featuring Keak Da Sneak. The response from fans and critics was less than inspiring. He later followed it up with a statement consoling fans saying that this track didn’t reflect the entire album and that The Outsider was diverse and reflected what he really wanted to do without fearing critics and fans. Upon listening to the album you realize that either someone was holding a gun to his head while he wrote that or his personal music tastes really suck.

The Outsider is littered with tracks that would seem more in step with a Lil’ John record or, say, a record label CEO itinerary. For every good track there are four sessions of sonic debauchery to accompany it. If you do the math, that’s three decent songs and a crappy intro to boot. If the songs aren’t fit for a frat party, they are long, arduous and boring.

An iTunes buying guide: “Dats My Part,” “Artifact” and “Backstage Girl” are surely worth your 99 cents. Bam! I just saved you $12. The only void the rest of this record fulfills is my insatiable love of whipping bargain bin CDs out my car window. C-

— Dan Brian