By: David Stokes
David Lynch’s hair
David Lynch is the man without qualities – almost. Yes, his movies and other works are distinctive, but imagine trying to explain one of them without introducing –like some asshole film student – stacks of hackneyed academic notions like Freudianism or liminal desire. It’s impossible; these cliche ideas are essential to explaining Lynch’s work. And yet his art is not cliched; there is something else happening here, something difficult to isolate.
This is his aim. Lynch is really in the business of creating the spooky feeling that one is sitting atop a terrifyingly important mystery which, though we haven’t yet even realized it was affecting us, he has long since solved.
David Lynch’s debut music album, “Crazy Clown Music,” remains entirely truthful to his method. However, when Lynch moves away from film he can no longer simply show us his characters, but must tell us about his own encounters with them. It is 14 tracks of vapid lyrics (like that voiced by Lynch in the guise of a southern high school quarterback, saying “I went down / to the football game”) set to house-style music but – and here is the crucial twist – voiced with the most overwhelmingly excruciating honesty.
Initially this juxtaposition of two seemingly disparate cultures of goth-rave music and Friday Night Lights is confusing. But it’s just clever. He starts by finding two genres or styles of living that are very real to some people but, to others, they are almost something you’d imagine as a joke. Then, it’s as if he says to the practitioners of these ways of life: “Look guys, I’ve looked at your style and, unlike most, I have taken it very. Seriously.”
The album is entirely built on these strange alliances. Disappointingly, that means he locates the most viral, concise expression of their behavior, and their style threatens to become nothing more than a new species of butterfly pinned to a board, dissected and understood.
Like his films though, we cannot shake the sense that for all the wonder and novelty of his juxtapositions, Lynch has failed to completely unite these elements into something meaningful, let alone make an album of musical merit. Or maybe that’s the point.
Interested listeners will be happy to learn that his album currently streams for free via NPR, thanks to the sponsorship of the American Drilling Association’s website.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/who-killed-david-lynch/.