NakedSelf

NakedSelf

by The The
     
 

Matt Johnson has had a weirdly intermittent but surprisingly consistent career releasing albums as The The. Although he began recording under his own name in 1979, the first official The The release, the majestic keyboard-driven SOUL MINING -- which included the landmark singles "Uncertain Smile" and "This Is the Day" -- came in 1983.See more details below

Overview

Matt Johnson has had a weirdly intermittent but surprisingly consistent career releasing albums as The The. Although he began recording under his own name in 1979, the first official The The release, the majestic keyboard-driven SOUL MINING -- which included the landmark singles "Uncertain Smile" and "This Is the Day" -- came in 1983. Since then only three albums of new, original material have seen the light of day. It's been seven years since DUSK and five since the surprisingly relevant album of Hank Williams covers, HANKY PANKY. NAKEDSELF, Johnson's first album for Trent Reznor's Nothing Records, then, is a welcome return from an artist whom even his fans may have forgotten. Although it forsakes the use of any sort of keyboards or electronics in favor of ominous and heavy guitar sounds and keeps most songs in the three-minute range, NAKEDSELF retains the urgency, power, and scope of all of The The's work. Johnson's a deeply cynical artist with serious social concerns: He rants about urban alienation on "Boiling Point," "Voidy Numbness," and "Diesel Breeze" (Johnson's move from the U.K. to NYC must be the source of the subway imagery in several of the songs), about globalization on "Global Eyes" (which echoes the Beatles' "Come Together"), and about consumerism on "Swine Fever" ("Don't even like it/But you've just gotta try it/You don't even want it/But you're gonna buy/Gonna-gonna-gonna buy it"). With former Iggy Pop guitarist Eric Schermerhorn helping to fuel the intensity, Johnson mixes hard rock distortion with dark rhythmic undercurrents, and his baritone voice possesses the authority of a prophet or a crazed evangelist. The tension relaxes slightly -- very slightly -- on the songs that examine personal crises; "The Whisperers," "December Sunlight," and the beautiful "Soul Catcher" rely on acoustic guitars and Johnson's falsetto to bring crucial contrast within the album's generally oppressive atmosphere. "Pain can be your friend," Johnson softly sings in "Phantom Walls," and his sharply focused and intelligently articulated pain on NAKEDSELF is indeed cathartic.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris True
It's never been easy to pin Matt Johnson down. He's always come across as intense and dark, but much of his music is melodic and airy. He managed to turn his gentle rage into a masterpiece on 1990's Mind Bomb, and captured heat on record with Dusk. But there's no new ground broken on NakedSelf. Overall, it is a hit-and-miss affair. The opener, "Boiling Point," is a slow build that never seems to hit stride, but "Shrunken Man" is a solid number with well-timed production. Matt has always had a good ear for melody, and most of the songs here are no exception. Tracks like "December Sunlight," "Global Eyes," and "Phantom Walls" float hand in hand with his airy vocals. If the album proves anything, it's that Matt has learned that he should never work alone. The band he assembled here is tight and flows well with Johnson's melodic sensibilities. The strong points on NakedSelf are not hard to find, but they are subtle. And while it is a solid collection of songs, The The have shone brighter.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/29/2000
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0606949051020
catalogNumber:
490510

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

The   Primary Artist
Lloyd Cole   Background Vocals
Matt Johnson   Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Guitar (Baritone)
Dorit Chrysler   Background Vocals
Earl Harvin   Drums,Snare Drums
Eric Schermerhorn   Acoustic Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Frank Ferrer   Drums,Snare Drums
Brian Kelly   Background Vocals
Michelle Amar   Background Vocals
Spencer Campbell   Bass Guitar
Brian Macleod   Snare Drums

Technical Credits

Matt Johnson   Producer,Engineer,Concept
Bruce Lampcov   Producer,Engineer
Eric Schermerhorn   Composer
Howie Weinberg   Mastering
Dave Lee   Engineer
Calley   Art Direction

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