By The Throat - Eyedea and Abilities

2012-11-07

This album shouldn’t work. I imagine most people probably had a chuckle when it dropped. In 2009, it was tough to even talk about rap-rock ironically without getting dirty looks.

That said, anybody who goes to talk shit and then listens to this record will be in for a surprise. This record will be immediately familiar to you if you’ve heard P.O.S.’s Audition. It’s got that razor-edge attack, super-fast rappy pappy, but this time there’s singing. Yep. That’s right. By The Throat is one surprisingly melodic hip-hop disc.

People probably remember this one for the standout “Smile”, but it’s full of gold elsewhere. My favorites are “This Story” and “Time Flies When You Have A Gun”.

Eyedea chats about the psycho-emotional effects of owning a gun (“You can own it but mostly it’ll own you”), living at the mercy of your neurons (“All I can do is breathe, that’s how I put out the fire”), and that feeling we all know and love: self doubt (“My worst habit is waking up at least once a day”).

It’s sad that he’s dead. It really is. But the real crime is that a dude this brilliant went before his time. I mean that very sincerely. Anybody who has ever had a psychiatric/neural disorder can relate to the way he talks about it all. Your brain chemistry is this system, built on millions of years of evolution, that we barely understand. We throw drugs at it, we exercise, we try therapy, but we’re at the tip of the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding it all. It takes a keen emotional intelligence to explore that gulf of ignorance in an elegant way.

Beyond enjoying this record for its musical merit, I appreciate it as the statement of a fellow tortured human. Eyedea was a guy, like you and I, just trying to make sense of this fucked up little experiment. He took one hell of a crack at it. For that, I am grateful.

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