Album Reviews

Die Antwoord – $O$

(Cherry Tree) UK release date: 11 October 2010

Criticizing a Die Antwoord album for being gimmicky is kinda likecriticizing a Metallica album for being loud, in that an adjectivelike ‘gimmicky’ essentially sums up what anyone could ever expect froma full length record by a trio of rap-rave South Africans with atroublingly dense mythology and a pair of Pink Floyd boxers. (Which,by the way, if somehow you’re the last person in the world not towitness the brain-busting Zef Side video, make an excursion to YouTubeRIGHT NOW to learn what life is all about). So against all odds, herethe world has $O$, which, even more bewilderingly, sports a fatInterscope logo on the back. This is somehow Die Antwoord’s majorlabel debut. And yes, it’s a little gimmicky.

At Die Antwoord’s are still at their very best with Enter The Ninja- a song so mindlessly weird and sinisterly addicting that it nearlyincites a riot when played live, it’s what created their persona inthe first place and still accentuates their strengths better thananything else they’ve ever written. It stands head and shoulders aboveall the other material on $O$ which unfortunately hints at a potentialearly end to the Antwoord fever. The other songs are primarilycaustic, Goldie Lookin’ Chain (remember them?) attempts atjoke-rap or M.I.A.-like stabs at dancehall ragers. The closest thingthey get to an actual song is Wat Pomp a percussion heavyaudience-chanter that (with a silly enough video) might recapture thesame populace obsession that Enter The Ninja did, but it’s nowherenear the same quality.

Everything else here is just simple, dumb, and occasionallychuckle-inducing, Dagga Puff is a weed-anthem sung as a children’ssong, Beat Boy makes an extended appearance, clocking in at a vaguelyridiculous 8:21, and it shouldn’t surprise too much to know that songtends to lose its glamour when the visual of a man waving his flacciddick in your face is missing (seriously, go watch the Zef Side videoagain), but that’s neither here nor there.

If anything, the primarypositive the world might take from $O$ is that Yo-Landi Vi$$er, thepint-sized near albino looking girl who plays hype-woman for primaryemcee Ninja, is a pretty good artist all by herself. The charminglytitled Rich Bitch has her rapping with a significant amount ofMinaj-esque bile-spitting aggression. She might be the mostinteresting thing on the entire record, and might be the one DieAntwoord related thing with an extended shelf life.

But $O$ is mostly forgettable, not working as either a comedy pieceor as actual, you know, music. It’s plenty silly enough to keep theattention spans of those who’ve already been swept up in the happylittle fantasy world Die Antwoord have successfully sprung on thewestern world, but if there was any dimly-lit hope that somehow theseweirdos would ever amount to anything more than weirdos, this albumshould put that concept to bed.

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Die Antwoord – $O$