Daniel Johnston
Fear Yourself (w/ Mark Linkous) Gammon http://www.tinymixtapes.com//sites/default/files/arton5141_0.jpg

[Gammon; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5 3.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: indie pop, lo-fi, outsider artist
Others: Jad Fair, Jonathan Richman, Syd Barrett


http://media.tinymixtapes.com/


Daniel Johnston is a clinically depressed and bipolar holdover musician from the 80s. His fans (some of them, anyhow) constantly battle the "novelty" tag, insisting on sincere examination of Johnston's works. They point out his simple, heartfelt lyrics: cliché coming from a teenager, but touching when sung by a grown man. Typically, Johnston's solo albums (early ones especially) are take-it-or-leave-it collections of simple acoustic guitar and his high-pitched warble. In this reviewer's opinion, Johnston falls somewhere between Tiny Tim and John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. It's not quite funny, and it's not quite musically viable. This said, Johnston has produced a few great albums, and more than a few great songs. To criticize Mark Linkous's sparkling production values and full arrangements on Fear Yourself is to ignore the fact that at this point in his career, Johnston cannot continue to make the same album. Darnielle realized the same thing when he made Tallahassee last year, and the results are similarly mixed. Songs like "Syrup of Tears" and "Now" have strong melodies that make the production values work, while "Must" is overlong and sounds like Johnston is only making about 10% of the music we hear. A certain other online music reviewer claimed that Fear Yourself sounds like the pity of a producer for his backwards artist. Where this album shines is where Johnston sounds excited to be at the front of all this music ("Fish," especially). Hey, Daniel, this isn't so bad.

1. Now
2. Syrup of Tears
3. Mountain Top
4. Love Enchanted
5. Must
6. Fish
7. Power of Love
8. Forever Your Love
9. Love Not Dead
10. You Hurt Me
11. Wish
12. Living It for the Moment

 

1. Now
2. Syrup of Tears
3. Mountain Top
4. Love Enchanted
5. Must
6. Fish
7. Power of Love
8. Forever Your Love
9. Love Not Dead
10. You Hurt Me
11. Wish
12. Living It for the Moment