Wesley Willis

Rock 'N' Roll Will Never Die

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Rock 'N' Roll Will Never Die Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock N Roll Will Never Die was the first Wesley Willis album that was funded by a label, but the cleaner sound really makes no difference at all. At their core, every song Wesley Willis sings is the same song, with the same melody, the same chords and the same skeletal lyrics -- the only difference is that sometimes he sings about "Kurt Cobain," sometimes about "Pink Floyd," sometimes about "Blackie-O," sometimes about "Liz Phair," sometimes about "Bolt Thrower," of all people. It's certainly admirable that Willis has decided to not be tied down by his schizophrenia, but it often seems that his audience is laughing at him, not with him. Despite that nagging suspicion, which tends to cloud any critical judgment of Willis and his records, Rock N Roll Will Never Die is one of his better records, simply because of its clean but not slick production and fresh performances. Of course, Willis is above criticism -- it's hard to criticize something that is essentially variations on one simple theme, let alone a batch of songs written by a schizophrenic -- but that still doesn't make listening to any of his records any easier.

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