I was born in America. I check the box labeled White or Caucasian when I’m filling out forms either applying for a job, or renewing my driver’s license. I am neither proud nor not proud of either of these things. They are simply facts, decided by someone else long before I was born. But I have to identify as such with an X or a checkmark in a box in order for someone to be able to file it off correctly wherever these sorts of things are filed off to and for whatever reason. It’s not really something I think about too much after the slash mark of the pen has done its job and allowed me to go on with my life. Though there are many people who are proud to be Americans and also many who want to be Americans, to come to America from somewhere else and live the dream that all the rest of us are living. I think that’s great. More power to them I say though many may have a different sentiment. We are in an election year and this wantonness of immigrants who want to come to America seems at the crux of the American political debate this year. I remember when it was universal healthcare. My how things change.
Myself I’ve always felt an affinity with the French. They seem so laid back and elegantly careless. They drink and smoke and eat food that would turn other cultures into fat cancerous couch potatoes. They read books and make films that have no plot and end quizzically and abruptly. J’en suis amoureux le Français. But American culture is and has been for so long, so far reaching. It has reached the western Canadian performer VeePo in a big way. VeePo’s music is swathed in it. VeePo’s second offering American Dreamers takes its from American musical influences such as hip hop and folk.
American Dreamers opens with the list-o-matic “BUST IT (Nobody Got You)” a track of bare bones Mac made beats interspersed with a few seconds of bleeps from hip-hop hits of the past decade or so. A robotic voice recites the furtive and sometimes wry and witty lyrics like “Somebody got hip / somebody got hop / Somebody got MJ / got the King of Pop,” and “Somebody got krump/ somebody got lock / Somebody be poppin / on a dope robot.” Next comes the completely out of left field alt country piano and string ballad “HALELU” delivered with deep country twang vocals. It is both somber and inviting, if not a bit head scratching given its predecessor. Next comes the prophetic and acoustic slow jam “Everybody Gets to Go to Heaven.”
Next after a sample of a revved up Harley Davidson we get the country-punk offering “BILLY (He's Red-Lining)” which has a that “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers kinda vibe going on. Then comes the austere finger picked “I Don’t Shine” which seems to cross paths with both Leonard Cohen and Devendra Banhart, something which seems to sound more like the latter on “The Orwell Nightmare” a diatribe on the referenced authors clairvoyant tactics set with lyrics that make reference to Facebook.
VeePo takes these pop culture references even further on “American Dream” a skiffly and twangy tune on which he observes “Momma’s in the kitchen cooking at the stove / Daddy’s screaming at the TV /Sister’s sitting pretty talking on the phone / Lil’ brother’s on his PS3,” and then as if that weren’t enough “American Idol, Super Bowl Game / Dancing with the Hollywood stars /Preachers on the TV saving my soul / While I worship in my favorite bar.” The lyrics become some sort of misinformed classification that only an outsider could dream up. It is like assuming everyone in Japan is an expert in karate.
Perhaps VeePo should move to Brooklyn and have a “Bromance.” It might serve his tastes.
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