Jad Fair

Wild

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    3
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Jad Fair, the more famous half of the amazingly prolific underground rock duo known as Half Japanese, has built an entire career on his inability to sing, play an instrument, or write coherent songs. In the beginning, it was his charming combination of earnest incompetence and sweet lyrical naïveté that got him over; Half Japanese came across as an only slightly more ironic and self-consciously neurotic post-punk version of the Shaggs. Within a few years, Fair had developed some songwriting and playing chops, and Half Japanese made several genuinely (if weirdly) enjoyable albums. Now senility and regression seem to have crept in. The utterly insufferable songs on this sprawling, 23-track mess of an album offer some musical moments (thanks primarily to guitarist and co-conspirator Jason Willett), but none that can come close to redeeming Fair's obnoxious and empty-headed mewling. "Walking With Lorraine," the album's opening track, couples some fairly interesting sound manipulation with utterly vapid lyrics ("Walking and walking and talking and talking/Holding hands all day long") that sound like the improvised musings of an eight-year-old, and the pattern is thus set for the next 50 minutes. This stuff is not cool and it's not subversive; it's just stupid. This emperor has no clothes.