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Classic Album Review: Half Japanese | Hello

The polarizing Jad Fair finds the sweet spot between pop & peculiarity for once.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Quirky singer-guitarist Jad Fair is one of those love-him-or-hate-his-guts kinda guys.

Some folks think his amateurish pop, off-kilter lyrics and untrained nasal voice make him one of indie-rock’s more endearing and idiosyncratic characters. Others say his primitive skills and noisy experimentalism brand him one of music’s more irritating and pretentious hacks. With his accessible umpteenth album Hello, Fair and the ever-changing lineup of his band Half Japanese might finally have a CD everyone can get behind. These 17 songs have all the poppy bounce and disarmingly earnest charm Fair is capable of. More to the point, they retain enough peculiarity to please the faithful without abandoning pop structure and resorting to offputting sludge. And with song titles like The Legend of Hillbilly John, Super-Size It and Jump Into the Mess, what is not to love?

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