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WhoisLouis reveals a Seldom Scene of Lyrical & Musical Prowess
Let’s begin with the ending. The final piece of “Seldom Scene” instigates an entirely different, yet complimentary, realm within which each of the prior tracks find more specific meaning. “Thunder” focuses its instrumentation around a snaking voice that reads from the final part of T.S. Eliot’s mystifying poem “The Wasteland,” entitled “What the Thunder Said.”
This ending track of “Seldom Scene” results in a magnitude in WhoisLouis’ words that would have been missed otherwise. T.S. Eliot’s work deserves a careful reading of its own, of course, but there are certain references in the piece chosen to accompany WhoisLouis’ album whose definition would help unveil the larger themes of WhoisLouis’ words.
The only way to fully comprehend WhoisLouis’ work and the concepts that adorn Seldom Scene is to seek out these meanings. The best way to do so is by familiarizing oneself with the North Anthology of English Literature, the eighth edition, Volume F. In this wonderful resource you will find a treasure of footnotes describing the many references and meanings of phrases within “The Wasteland.” Without this information, “Seldom Scene” may still be understood, but read this review knowing that there is much more to each of the songs and that an understanding or at least a careful reading of “What the Thunder Said” and its references is the best way to fully digest and appreciate WhoisLouis’ work. I sincerely hope that you listen to the final track and google every single thing you do not comprehend if you cannot get your hands on a Norton Anthology. With that being said, here is my take on WhoisLouis’ “Seldom Scene.”
The track “Harvest Moon” suggests an awareness of the anti-harvest, that moment when the labor of thoughts and actions that comprises a person’s identity suddenly seems at its most severe, the antithesis of that person’s aim and at its possibly reconcilable, counterfeit.
”And it feels so strange” extrudes the now confused good-intention man while his more logical, alpha male voice roars “Smile- Snap out of it!”
”Harvest Moon” leaves one contemplating which voice of WhoisLouis is more trustworthy and which is smarter to heed. With the creation of this track though, the answer to that question favors the wilder voice; Though depressive that voice’s complaining functions as an amplifier for serious questions: Why do I feel this way? Where am I going? Where have I been? Are my goals in line with my beliefs? What kind of person am I, really?
“One Day” gleams as a battle cry for positive thought. The track does not depart from the gravity in “Harvest Moon” but there exists a definite maturation in attitude. The remnants of
that confused and heartbroken disillusion blossoms into a confidence that sings “one day we’ll make it too, you’ll see.” This track is not a feel-good sensation, rather it inspires as genuine because it is built upon the downtrodden emotion of “Harvest Moon” and is followed by the vertiginous struggle of positive thought in “Wobbley Fall.”
The voice in “Wobbley Fall” has reached a point of wise disconnect from everyday vexation. The bills must still be paid; food must be provided; roles must be fulfilled. However, the prior experience of suffering as described in “Harvest Moon” provides a certain transcendence of will power. There is the constant unsteadiness; the track nearly makes one dizzy while listening yet the confidence of the WhoisLouis’ voice, if not convincing, creates an environment where the listener wants to root for him. What is most rewarding about this track is not that it encourages an appreciation for WhoisLouis, a man who trudges forward in his efforts to live because “dying is too easy.” The exceptional quality about “Wobbley Fall” is its ability to embolden even the most desperate and sunken to begin to form the words of their own battle cry. That is true HipHop gold. The efforts of WhoisLouis persist beyond his present issues and inspirit listeners to believe in more than themselves. The listeners are inspired to continue on in certitude that their violence against the insidious apathy towards their situation is righteous. How necessary for it seems that such apathy has various places it grows, among outside sources and even the most intelligent and hardworking people.
With this absorbing of the listener into the character of WhoisLouis, (or perhaps, vice versa) the track “Be Myself” extends the rebellious joy of “Wobbley Fall” into a strange party track. The instrumental sounds like an old carnival where everyone’s face is inverted on the color scale. The sound is weird and it’s fun because it’s weird. With today’s usual flavor, “Be Myself” is probably weird because it’s fun without parading around in between bottles and half naked women.
This track is for the listener who has taken the mind leap with WhoisLouis, identifies with the artist, and is ready to celebrate word for word that they are indeed themselves.
The party continues with “Pretty Well.” Yet there is a notable difference between the two tracks. Rather than being exaltation that doubles as a a synopsis of identity, “Pretty Well” achieves this and more. High energy, the opening of the track declares that this is a track that declares WhoisLouis’ love for his supporters. His lyrics provide a climate of peaceful solidarity among fighters, a kind of rhythmic world play haven for the down and out. “Pump Ya Fist” further evolves that solidarity. WhoisLouis’s voice heralds a gritty disposition. This track arrives as the most vulgar on the album because, lyrically, it subsists uncomfortably close to the eardrum. WhoisLouis is a bit rude, subscribing to the tradition of the diss. But he does not break away from the purpose of his words, his two goals: “to rip mics and fill [the] tummies” of his “two kids that love [him].”
“Pump Ya Fist” possesses the appeal of a very organized beat. The sound feels almost militaristic which beckons the question: In the course of an album, has WhoisLouis built himself an army? And is this such the “Seldom Scene” he seeks? People no longer fighting each other and themselves, but rather fighters who harmonize towards mental victory over own unique situations.
“Tonight” is an interesting narrative. WhoisLouis is smitten. Of course, smitten on “Seldom Scene” requires references to “tuning heart strings for high notes” and raising the dead. This makes for a love song that is beyond tolerable; it is odd, dirty, and fun. This seems like a logical step keeping in line with the general feeling of “Seldom Scene.” If smooth talking and smooth singing seem disingenuous, “Tonight” offers the creepy alternative.
When WhoisLouis performs there is a resolute charm to him. As easily as he convinces the crowd of his genuine nature, he also propels them to move with his words. What could be better?
WhoisLouis-it is quite simple. Listen to him and come to one of his shows. You will love it.
He is a voice of sincerity who exposes that the depth of genuine, complicated feeling and artistry indeed remains possible in today’s HipHop.
And remember, no sleep deforms
like the waking slumber.