Jesse Camp

Jesse & the 8th Street Kidz

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There may be more irritating fringe figures in the history of rock & roll, but none are worse than Jesse Camp. A spoiled suburban rich kid who decided that acting as if he were mentally retarded would be wickedly funny, Camp rode MTV's manipulations into quasi-stardom, including such ridiculous highlights as gracing the cover of Spin magazine. Since he had wormed his way into celebrity, only one thing was left -- have him produce something of substance that would sustain his fame. Hence, a recording contract and his debut album, Jesse & the 8th Street Kidz, a record that sounds as if it was released in 1989. Yes, Camp is keeping the hair metal flame burning in the nine-nine, complete with big, stupid hooks and big, stupid lyrics about "Wasted Youth," "Griftin'," "Sloppy Kisses," and "Summertime Squatters." He never turns the volume down, slowing a little bit for a power ballad with Stevie Nicks on "My Little Saviour" (which of course begs the question, what exactly did Nicks do to deserve this kind of punishment?). At times, the music is catchy, but most of the time it's simply irritating, since Camp's singing is every bit as grating as his persona. Perhaps this is just one big joke or perhaps Camp's love of pop-metal is ironic, but it doesn't change the fact that this record is unbearable.

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