Title: Out Of It
Artist: Brad Sucks
Release Date: 2008 Sept 8
Genre: Pop Rock
License: CC BY-SA
Label: Self-Release / Jamendo
These throwback reviews are designed to highlight releases that are still among my favorites even after years of being available. It’s a way of highlighting some music that I hope people will be interested in exploring if they missed it the first time around. Brad Sucks: Out Of It was actually a difficult choice for me. Why? it’s simple: I’m a bit of a fan. And, as a fan, I haven’t heard a release that I didn’t like from Brad Sucks yet.
Brad Sucks: Out Of It
So, how is it that I chose Out Of It over the other releases? Well, Guess Who’s A Mess was released in 2012, and I am making an effort to go for releases that have been around for at least 5 years. But the choice between Out Of It and I Don’t Know What I’m Doing was a more difficult one.
One of the reasons I chose it is because the infamous “sophomore curse” that many artists seem to suffer from. However, in the case of Brad Sucks, that curse is completely inapplicable. This release manages to do several things that artists often try to do: up their game, improve from one release to the next. And, Brad Sucks does that with this release.
Now, let’s add to that there are several songs that I have really come to love on this release. The opener “Dropping Out Of School” was my first exposure to Brad Sucks. And that happened by way of a podcast. Some linux geeks in the UK used to use this song as the opening music for their show. It made such an impression on me that I sought out the song, and found the wonder of Brad Sucks work.
Then there is an element to this release that I feel is overlooked frequently: a bit of an edge to the music and a willingness to change up the texture and style from track to track that seems to flow effortlessly. I know most musicians don’t like being compared to each other, however this ability reminds me a of Beck around the time of his Odelay release. But what is really cool is even with the change in textures from track to track this release is still a cohesive whole. It doesn’t suffer from the fragmentation that some artists encounter when trying to reach further.
And of course, there is the lyrics. Back to Dropping Out of School, who would write a couplet like this:
stomach’s turning books are burning
i found better things than learning
That’s the kind of writing that mixes a couple of things together that are quite interesting: censorship (book burning) with ignorance (better things than learning). It’s an interesting perspective on what it was like to go to school, and more of what it was like to cut class. And consider the unique perspective of this passage from Fake It:
is it so hard to fake it
is it so hard to fake it
is it so hard to take your own advice
is it so hard
This is my hope: that people will listen to the music of Brad Sucks and not just write it off as a light bit of entertainment. Yes, his work is quite entertaining (there’s many more examples than I am writing about here, I don’t want to spoil the fun for listeners). But there is so much more to Brad Sucks: he has built a community for his music, he allows people to freely remix his work, he provides the full source for all of his tracks, and he supports and works with ccMixter. He has taken the mantle of Creative Commons to a level that is beyond admirable: he is one of the top advocates of this whole new crazy world, and we need to encourage more artists to be like him.