Sean Na-Na

Dance 'Til Your Baby Is a Man

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Habitually self-referential and vitriolic, Sean Tillman is hell-bent on informing all of the bullies, haters, and girlfriends from his past that he wishes them nothing but ill will, and has left them in the proverbial dust. As if such flaunted malice isn't foreign enough to the usually placid genre of indie pop (though the contradictory overtones of insecurity may well be), add to it the fact that Tillman is a former member of an AmRep noise rock band and a classically trained singer. He was blessed with an expressive tenor that he uses, much like many a tweaked-out R&B singer does, to flagellate his songs with vocal histrionics. His lyrics are witty, occasionally funny, and sometimes silly, but they're usually pointed and confrontational. The combination of his voice and odd lyrics makes it virtually impossible to feel sorry for him, though one begins to wonder how mercilessly Tillman was picked on to have harbored such resentment for a prolonged period of time. However alienated or betrayed he may feel, Dance 'Til Your Baby Is a Man benefits from his hostility. While there are a few slow jams and pop nuggets scattered across the album's ten tracks, the majority of the songs are hateful condemnations, forcefully delivered by Tillman and his acoustic guitar while backed by Sean Na-Na's driving rhythm section. Although spite may be the fuel for his fire as well as his source of strength, it's unclear just how deep Tillman's venomous reservoir is -- how many records can be built upon a vengeful foundation of vinegar before there's a sufficiently cathartic emotional release? Though he may have a legitimate focus point for his frustration, he may do well to heed a warning, if only as means of self-preservation, from Bill "Smog" Callahan -- "a bitter man rots from within."

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