WTF Album: If the World Calls, Please Leave a Message
Tags: Singer/Songwriter, Outsider, Spoken-Word, Dark, Rock
WTF Quality: Accent, Demented Poetry & Lyrics, Childish
Lifespan: 2008 -
After a lengthy hiatus from writing record reviews I'm returning with a handful of very special records.
To start we have the much anticipated new Richard There album produced by Richard Almeida.
Anyone already use to his lo-fi bedroom approach to recording will be in for a big surprise.
While the majority of the vocals keep the unique grainy recorded sound he has done in the past the music itself is well executed and recorded, along with special effects, soundscapes, SFX, and many other various ear-candy surprises.
In reviewing this album I got help from a friend of mine from back in the states. I thought he could help supply opposing thoughts on this as he hates, and I mean really fucking HATES, anything out of the ordinary in music.
I had no doubts that he would give opposite opinions against mine.
I did this because after I reviewed each individual song I realized that it was all too positive. I was licking Richard There's asshole - up and down.
I love this damn album to death and my words reflected that too much that I couldn't take all the sunshine praise and decided to give this review a black and white make-over.
So, I emailed my friend and asked him to say a few words about each song of the album.
My attempt at creating a duel first reactions review.
Later I edited a few parts to shorten things between us.
My friend may seem a bit harsh here but I know Richard and his fans can take it. And in the end, after reading his words, I learned to appreciate this music even more.
Ladies and gentlemen of the WTFMusic world - it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the man himself - who insists that I'm wasting my time with WTFMusic and thinks it is all a big joke for people with nothing better to do: Mr. James Jeffery!
Hello fine people of WTFMUSIC.ORG!
I look forward to say a few words about each song from Richard There's new album "If the world calls, please leave a message."
I have never heard of this Richard There guy before but Marcus (onionpalac) asked me this favor and I'm more than happy to abide.
I can only imagine what I'm in for. God, I hope this isn't THAT painful on my ears.
Let's get it on!
1. If you want to say something
OP: A surprising introduction to the album. Already I feel that this is going to be something different than what I'm used to from Mr. There. Perhaps some kind of concept album?
JJ: Nothing too offensive yet. Just a quick answering machine recording introduction gimmick. I've heard this done a lot on many rap albums. Is this gonna be some kind of experimental crazy rap thing?
OP: Time for story time around the fire with Richard! It's the simplicity in songs like this that gives comfort and charm to the music here. This story is a loop in itself and peaks at the moment of the subjects inspiration. It'S good to hear Richard's voice again singing new material that I know I will return to again and continue to enjoy. It's just so warm and comforting!
JJ: Whoa accent! That was a funny surprise! Not as weird as I'd thought it would be. Boring as all hell though. A repeating guitar figure accompanying a story about some bored guy who gets a flash of realization that he's a procrastinator. Most likely the same thing will happen again the next day. And the next. And the next. Like the repeating guitar. Okay. Next song please.
3. I don’t know what you mean
OP: Patterns? The world is calling. Messages are being left. Is there a mystery to unravel here?
JJ: Okay, another answering machine skit. "I don’t know what you mean when you say hi (high?)" How high are you Richard?
4. Call you friend
OP: Instant classic! A genuine playful and colorful creative tune about friendship with children as guest vocalists. It has that Wild Man Fischer spontaneous quality with the ever present Daniel Johnston innocence. Love it!
JJ: Sooooo, this is what I was afraid of. My wife walked in during this tune. She asked why I was listening to children records and accused me of doing drugs. Thanks for that Richard and Marcus. And really, anyone can make shit like this and many people already have. My only question is why?
5. Silence Train
OP: Nice production with the SFX and musical atmosphere to help support the words. Richard has great delivery in his text here and his voice seeps deep into the underlying sounds around him. Very easily drawn in and captivated. I can imagine that this would be great live. Perhaps we need to organize a Richard Show performed on a train?
JJ: A holocaust train perhaps? That was my first guess at least. This one is not so strange or bad either. I can't imagine wanting to listen to it again. Again the story goes nowhere.
6. Now I’m fucked
OP: I dig the "fucked" pronunciation. Not much else to say. Nice transition into the next track and keeping with the theme.
JJ: Fuck-ed? Yes Richard. Yes you are fuck-ED! No argument there.
7. Sand in my mouth
OP: A delicate sounding Richard delivering a loose message of someone somewhere losing something - being shot down. Brings variety to the set so far. Short enough to be valid. Really digging the way this album is unfolding.
JJ: This is what Bob Dylan would sound like if he came from a third world country. Enough said. The song's already over.
OP: What is this? A very unexpected side of Mr. There. Wonderful sci-fi soundscapes. A vocoder laced Richard untangles the age old question: what came first - the robots or the humans? Richard seems to be taking on all kinds of characters these days.
JJ: Oh come on! What's the point of this? To see what your voice sounds like disguised as a robot? More boring shit. How are people supposed to enjoy this on repeated listens? Really.
OP: This might be the first stand-up Dadaist joke I've ever heard . . .
JJ: So now I know that not only is Richard There not a musician but also not a comedian as well.
10. Listening to my breath
OP: Words of despair filled with questions and the lacking of confidence mixed with optimism. Themes I love to hear Richard talk and sing about. At first I was disappointed at the 1:52 mark. That build up. "See how it builds up like Linkin' Park?" (Lame Zappa reference - sorry). But trusting Richard's judgement over mine I went back and listened to the track a few more times. The way it ends is what justifies it for me. Not taking itself too seriously.
JJ: English pronunciation problems aside, and perhaps some people see that as part of the art (?), this is not such a bad tune. It's trying at least. And it almost does something until it just stops and dies.
11. Find my way
12. The same
OP: I wonder if this was improvised. Almost like Alexander "Skip" Spence or Bill Clint in it's candid approach. Something rarely put down on record. Many people could never pull this kind of thing off but Richard does it with his honest and deep story-telling technique.
JJ: Someone get that rambling stoned hippy off stage. This is a family oriented coffee house you know! And man is that voice getting annoying. Sounds like you had some tough luck in your life Richard, huh? Yeah, don't we all. This is the worse so far. Especially when you go off on Velvet Underground.
13. Happy Birthday
OP: A warm introduction for the next song.
JJ: Is the Richard he's addressing here Richard There? Is this a song to himself? And this raises another question. Just how old is Richard There?
14. Doesn’t matter much
OP: Another instant classic from the coasts of There! A life full of sin is the only life worth living. Adding voices onto of pre-recorded material is always a plus in my book. Especially when it pulls the possibilities of weirdness. Possibly the best closing song to any album ever!
15. If you are there
OP: Is this real? Are you talking to Richard Almeida? I'd always answer the phone if you called man.
JJ: Yeah, I'd ignore your phone calls too Richard.
OP: It's the personality that always pulls me into Richard There's world. The candid honesty, creative playfulness, witty experimentation, delivery of stories, twisted gloom vs. bright hope - this all makes up the world known as There. Where Richard lives and is happy to come and take anyone along who wishes to get out of their own routine of serious adult business and everyday chores of typical logic and life. With the EP "Who touched my bones?" I felt as if I was in the same room with Richard and he was telling me all these little stories. With this new album I feel as if he is taking me on a guided tour by flying carpet and introducing me to various characters and tales of feelings and memories. Each turn drastically different than the next. It's a special thing when an artist can keep their personally attached yet create drastically different backgrounds to express themselves in. A very well rounded and coherent record of WTF proportions and thoughtful playful exuberances. Thanks for the journey Richard!
JJ: Listening to this album is like falling down a hole in MySpace music hell. Where everyone and their stoned mothers are experimenting with all the music software they pirated off the internet. The creators call it weird and experimental but how can it be either if it's being done all over the world everyday over and over again? Pop star sensationalist Kanye West is more weird and experimental than this. Lady Ga Ga is at least spending the money needed to try out new technology with top producers on her albums. And both play with the media in ways that haven't been thought up yet. Using the public as part of the art the way politicians do but in a more creative fashion. That's fucking experimental. Not this shit. I'm sorry Ricard There. I'm sure you're a nice guy but your music goes nowhere, at least for me. It was alright writing words about this music but I assure you that I will not return to it.
Please comment and let us know who you agree with more. Me, onionapalac, or James Jeffery, also known as JJ here.
I think I know the verdict.
While JJ may be harsh with his words on commenting on Richard's music it brings into perspective how "outsiders of the outside" view our music. Something that is very interesting to me.
How should we deal with these people? Should we even consider dealing with them? Is it important? Should we only talk to ourselves and people like us? Only making friends with those who we can fully relate to?
To tell you the truth - I'm more concerned with those who are unfamiliar or those who refuse to accept this kind of music than with those who already embrace it.
What do you think?
DOWNLOAD the album HERE: