Clutter Control: Jewmongous's Taller Than Jesus
The name "Jewmongous" caught my eye while thumbing through my desk-stacks. "Even if this is awful," I thought, "it will will not be your normal boring indie crap." Which is true. It's a completely different kind of crap.
Jewmongous is a project by one Sean Altman, who claims in his liner notes "...all of a suddent I'm an esteemed perveyor of 'Jewish Music' and a part of this fancy-shmancy 'Jewish hipster movement' everyone's talking about." Googling "Jewish hipster movement" lists those very liner notes as the second link returned. And the third, and fourth, and fifth. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say Sean Altman is not so much part of this alleged Jewish hipster movement, as much as he desperately wants to cash in on it.
Taller Than Jesus, at first glance, may look like the Jewish equivalent of kitchzy Christian folk, perhaps with a lovable light-humor bent. In fact, it's pretty much Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" except with dumber lyrics, inferior music, and 50 minutes long. Also there are a lot of masturbation jokes. One or two masturbation jokes are totally okay, but Altman goes way over the line.
Jewmongous commits the most common crime of music-based humor: making kinda crappy music. Moving from predictable ska to predicable rock 'n roll to predictable swing, Taller Than Jesus never takes risks. The music is just a mediocre vehicle for crude and uninspired jokes, with liberal and often unnecessary use of Yiddish and Hebrew terms. If Altman had spent a bit less time boning up on his Hebrew and a bit more listening to humor-rock gods Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords, he'd have produced a better (and funnier) album.
Taller Than Jesus is a two-note album propped on twin propositions: that Jewish people making comedic music is hilarious in and of itself, and that penises are hilarious in and of themselves. Both of these propositions are worth a couple of giggles, perhaps, but not a damn full-length album.
The Low Point
The last track is a cover of "I Wanna Be Sedated" that manages to insult both the Jewish musical tradition and the punk rock musical tradition with equal gusto. Its shittiness cannot be described in words.
This bit of lyric, from "Another Inch" (Haha get it? It's about penises) is actually kinda funny: "When girls take dictation/they want exclamation points/not apostrophes/and deep in their cooter/they don't want a scooter/they want an SUV."
How Much Should You Pay?
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