People Like Us + Kenny G
~reviewed by Goat
‘Been outdoors lately?
The last People Like Us album Soleilmoon sent (Stifled Love) I adored. It was so perfectly, beautifully demented. I became convinced then that Vicki Bennett had something exquisitely wrong with her!
She’s done it again with Nothing Special, and it really makes me wonder how the person who lives with the brain which could create an album like this can stand to live in the world today. It must seem so horrifically, painfully droll. [”I must deal with the limitations of the people who I walk this miserable planet with.”]
Gosh, how to describe this work. A 50s educational film on quaaludes and drinks from tiki glasses. A bit of Paul McCartney and Wings here. Snippets of words and sounds there. A little Carpenters music. “Just like me, they long to be/just like me”. Hah!
This is genuinely cleansing. I appreciate People Like Us mostly for the fact that whenever a new PLU album comes out, it serves to remind me, (like a faux-leopard-skin-covered-2x4-to-the -head,) that there is just so much more to life.
Whatever it is I’ve been doing, there’s so much more.
Let’s see. What else. An appearance by Neil Diamond. Some screamin’ and screechin’. Bluegrass with orchestra. Random madness which is brilliantly put together not randomly at all. [Elton John.] This disc is a meditation. [Cake!] Not for pleasure, exactly, [”I’m from Vagina! We’re all from Vagina!”] but in a good pair of headphones, it’ll certainly [Frank Sinatra] bring the blue sky and meandering sheep-clouds [”Gee, this is swell!] back to even the most troubled consciousness.
Kind of like, okay, remember that great Golden Palominos album Dead Inside? This has the same effect Dead Inside did, only take Dead Inside and light a firecracker in its butt. With pink frosting. And Carly Simon.
Or, imagine yourself in a Hoo-Hoo Hotel. You’re in the tv room for long-term patients, and some nutter has her thumb pressed permanently “channel up” on the television remote while 70s Adult Contemporary muzak oozes through the speakers (in which you know there is a hidden camera).
“I didn’t crawl to the top of the food chain to eat salad!”
If you’ve ever been even vaguely curious about “experimental music”, please, for the love of your ears, start here. And then work backwards. Find everything she (Vicki Bennett) has ever done, and make it yours. It’ll be an education, I promise. An exercise in letting go.
Somewhere, Laurie Anderson is smiling.
Run Time: (59:20)