Why Lauryn Hill Should Just Stop Making Music If She’s Just Trying To Fulfill A Contract
How long do we have to go along with the facade that Lauryn Hill is still trying to make good music – or any real music at all?
Yeah I’m talking about the rapid-fire gibberish disguised as social critique called “Consumerism.” The song is so bad, I want to run up a couple of credit cards out of spite. Or As Funky Dineva brilliantly said of the track, “If Lauryn wanted us to wake up and stop buying sh!t, she accomplished it with this.”
If you haven’t heard the track; don’t bother. Seriously, you’ve already heard it. It was called “Neurotic Society.” Right before Ms. Hill went into the clink, she released what could be best described as a pseudo-intellectual game of lyrical Boggle as a protest against the record company. The record company, who after 10 got-damn years of waiting for something including the Euterpe, the Greek muse of music, to finally move Ms. Hill’s spirit to create something, had the audacity to request that she release some new music. However after three months in prison and finally a free woman, my question is who is she protesting now with “Consumerism,” which sounds exactly like Neurotic Society? Matter of fact, how do we know this ain’t the same song with a different beat? It ain’t like you can memorize that Shyte and sing along…
I swear folks have been getting over for years with this cheap Scrabble board-style of word play, which relies heavily on using highly inflammatory yet vague words to imply controversy without really having to say anything – at all – in particular. Billy Joel did it. So did Beck. And as a friend reminded me yesterday, the alternative rock group R.E.M made an entire career out of Hooked-on-incendiary-words-Phonics scheme. But at least, they had catchy hooks. All Ms. Hill gave us to transition from one verse of explosive diarrhea of words to another is some damn wind chimes. Now I am in no way trying to stunt or disrespect Ms. Hill’s metamorphosis as an artist. But I need her to show some actual substance to go along with the Oswald Bates-style of rhyme delivery she has been spitting as of late.
Imagine if tomorrow you clicked an article on MadameNoire called “Suprematism” and in it, was one of those slide shows you all claim to despise of individuals words like: ageism, sexism, racism, objectivism, colonialism, separatism, revisionism, primitivism, etc…And you clicked through all 27 of those lone words just to get to the final slide, which says, “We Got to Stop That!” written five times in Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica and Comic Sans font? Y’all would be telling MadameNoire where they could go with all that pretentious egotism. Not to mention the futility and aimlessness of yelling out random words with little to no context! Like I can say ‘gentrification’ and have two people nodding in agreement for two completely different reasons. One of them could be thinking gentrification is bad while the someone else could be thinking, “Mmh, finally a place to get cronuts and a Starbucks’ iced caramel macchiato in the neighborhood…”
A friend of mine recently felt confident enough to express his longstanding feelings that Hill was an overrated artist, living off the momentum of the one good album she made years ago. I have been stubbornly resisting the urge to agree with him. But as a fan, who is increasingly growing disenchanted of Hill, I have to admit that I have traveled with her down some less musically traveled roads and have yet to understand the journey or the destination. I ignored the talk about the influence that her alleged mental illness and her sorted relationship with Rohan Marley might have on her ability to make music. I even made excuses for her during the 2010 Rock The Bells, when I sat under the hot-A$$ August sun just to see Hill, who came to perform late, sang off-key to long “re-conceptualized” (putting it nicely)versions of many of her hits. But now I am ready to face the crazy-sounding music and all of it’s ugly -ism and tell Ms. Hill to go have a seat, preferably away from a studio. As clearly, she is just not feeling making music anymore. Do what everyone else does with contractual issues and release a couple of remix albums. But despite what has been a disastrous attempt at a musical comeback, I think that Hill’s reputation as an artist is enough that she doesn’t ever have to make another song again and we would still give her status as a legend.