Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Daily Jam - Leave Me Alone

Have you ever had one of those albums that you are the utmost champion of? A record that you try to push on your friends and family as something, if not essential, then at the very least something wonderful to listen to and while away an hour or so? A record that for whatever reason (generally a lack of promotion) doesn’t seem to receive the attention or the acclaim that you know it is worthy of?

I do. And, with the exception of a couple of old friends who drank the sonic Kool-Aid I provided them, Spy’s 1999 album, Music to Mauzner By, seems to belong only to me.

I stumbled across the album quite by accident back when I was in college and volunteering as a deejay for the campus radio station. One morning, I randomly grabbed a small stack of promo CD’s to review for the station, took them back to my apartment, and began listening and writing out my thoughts. Music to Mauzner By floored me. An eclectic mix of different styles, hitting on alt-rock, funk, soul, hip-hop, flamenco, and classical among others, Spy’s album felt like a project taking its cues from Beck’s Odelay or Midnight Vultures and Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, but with less fusion or cohesion. Rather than throwing everything into a stew to see how it sounds, each track bounces around from genre to genre and back again, a highlight of which for me is the wonderful, hip-hop flavored “Leave Me Alone.”

A mellow beat laid beneath a simple bassline and synth riff, J. Ralph’s speak-singing cooing and lamenting in my ear, “Leave Me Alone,” while certainly a product of its time, still sounds as infectious to me now as it did 18 years ago, when it caused my college roommate to spontaneously strut.

And we should all strut sometimes.

Note: while Spy was a one and done music project, apparently the artist J. Ralph has continued to make music, most notably as an Oscar nominated film score and soundtrack artist, penning the music to such documentaries as The Cove, Man On Wire, and Racing Extinction. I love learning new things when I write.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

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