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REVIEWS / COMMENTS:
Rolling Stones - Fear Yourself


Web Exclusive


Daniel Johnston has been recording albums for twenty years, along the way becoming a favorite of Kurt Cobain, Yo La Tengo and Sparklehorse, whose Mark Linkous produced his latest effort, Fear Yourself. But as loved as Johnston is for his music, he is perhaps most famous for his battle with manic depression, which simultaneously fuels his songwriting and threatens to destroy it. Fear Yourself is the clearest distillation of Johnston's genius as a songwriter and lyricist. Linkous, along with engineer Alan Weatherland, laid down synthesized orchestration, mellotron and keyboards around Johnston's simple but classic compositions on piano and guitar. On "Mountain Top," Melissa Moore contributes a gorgeous violin part that exalts the entire two-minute punk-pop masterpiece. On "Syrup of Tears" Johnston sings, "Depression has got me down/Drilling for the kill/It's too late to suffer through/God I'll make you a deal/Just let me smile, a while for real" as piano and crashing cymbals punctuate his plea, sung out of tune, with his slight childlike lisp. Johnston, quite possibly, has one of the worst singing voices in rock, but what's more remarkable is how well it works with the oddball imagery, charmingly na´ve observations and of course Johnston's depiction of his inner turmoil. His voice crystallizes the pain of his illness -- as the album title suggests -- an unimaginable state, where the most frightening place to be is in one's own mind.

CHRISTINA SARACENO
(April 8, 2003)

 


 

Now

Syrup Of Tears

Mountain Top

Love Enchanted

Must

Fish

Power Of Love

Forever Your Love

Love Not Dead

You Hurt Me

Wish

Living It For The Moment

 

Average User Rating
rhythmshocker writes:
Rating:
Disagreed with the RS Review

 
rolling stone once again underrates a masterpiece of an album. fear yourself is a catchy/addictive album that will slowly be discovered (no thanks to rolling stone's writeup) and loved for years to come.
{ Oct. 7, 2003 | Post 2 of 2 }
ShimmyDiscRUS writes:
 
Rating:
 
Somewhat Disagreed with the RS Review
 
Every so often a gem of an album appears, an album that you almost want to hug for fear of forever losing it. Daniel Johnston's 'Fear Yourself' (Sketchbook) is one of those rare magical finds. Utterly honest, each songs is a biography of Johnston's life which has seen him battle his innermost demons and furthermore come out a living cult-legend. With Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), adding a glorious sheen to Johnston's innocent works, 'Fear Yourself' seems to tug at the heartstrings. Johnston goes against the norm and regularly defies those who seem to label him as a tragic, fragile being, close to the edge. This album is a testament that you can retain your true identity and yet still manage to command respect and loyalty. Johnston has successfully endured a musical career that has spanned over three decades. Something most of us will never achieve in our entire lifetime. Listen and learn.
 

{ Jul. 31, 2003 | Post 1 of 2 }

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SAMPLE MP3s

Polka Dot Rag
The What Of Whom

The Beatles

Lost And Found

Speeding Motorcycle
Live with Smutfish in The Netherlands

Casper
Kids
 
Honey I Sure Miss You
Artistic Vice
   
Dead Dog Laughing In The Cloud
Continued Story
 
OTHER MP3s
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Daniel Johnston backstage in Boston 2009-10-15

Sept 4
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