Go down Yoni…Or, Rather, Why? The Boy Who Cried Wolf! -- by Alex Goldberg, July 2006
Why? Because Yoni Wolf is dead serious. And why not? Because, as Yoni explains with the utmost sincerity, "I thought I was being funny, doing rap music, you know? And I didn't even listen to rap music." Plateau Repas, a French pop/electro group, has said, [and I quote, completely out of context] "the revolution will be microwaved." This is true, if, revolution is French for Yoni Wolf, and microwave is French for has taken over music. There simply is nothing funny about hip hop, yet, in a world where rap is a laughing matter, who will be the last to get saved and what will he wear on judgment day? One thing is for sure Yoni Wolf will be draped in red, for, as he boldly states, "I wear red a lot, it's kind of what I'm into." Indeed, the four horses of the apocalyptic vision will also be wearing red, for, as they have said [and I quote completely out of context] "it's kind of what we are into, we always are trying to look our best."
But what about sex appeal? Constantly I am confronted with an internal dilemma of sorts. I am told by the right brain that good music means good sex, that is, in order for a song to be great, it has to have a sexual element present. The dilemma is that the left part of my brain, while readjusting its monocle [because of course, the left brain resembles the Monopoly man] explains in a matter of fact manner that the right brain is completely unsophisticated and sophomoric and that sex and music are not connected. There has to be a middle ground though, a gentle balance between the puritans on the left and the pornographers on the right. Why? is quite clearly, a moderate middle ground between fuck and the fucked.
Why?’s sound is a mix between subtle flirtation and blissful post-coital exuberance. He is both the nerves before the sex and the relaxation that follows. His sing song sweet chariot melodic intonation is complimented by masculine vocals that are administered through a repeated series of pants and a whispered monotone voice. No, he does not wear leather pants, and no, he does not mention sex directly [literally] or noticeably indirectly [metaphorically] in any of his lyrics. The Early Whitney EP is not Anticon’s response to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On , or a less obvious follow up to Gary Glitter creepily romancing his audience with “Do You Want to Touch Me (Yeah!)?” In fact, in comparison to both Marvin Gaye and Gary Glitter, Why? is to sex as Radiohead is to N.W.A. But, Marvin Gaye obviously places greater emphasis on sex in his music, and Gary Glitter, well, Gary Glitter wants the world to touch him [Yeah!]. But with Why?, there is a certain sense of disclosure. A sense of modesty pervades his narrative, and when dealing with musical eroticism, he does not flaunt sexuality, but rather, like most topics discussed in his music, sex in his songs are a series of lyrical puzzles and personal poetry and quite clearly, nothing about Yoni Wolf’s music is out in the open.
On track eleven of Oaklandazulasylum, titled, Shirtless, Sheetless, And, Why? belts out, “Sure you saw me naked, but I never took my makeup off.” Why?’s music is a series of naked narratives where the genitals of his lyrics are disclosed humbly behind a fig leaf. Sure, he might place in the open everything about himself, but there is a certain hesitation when it comes to showing us everything about himself. This disclosure, whether discussing sex or his father the rabbi, has restricted his audience to a relatively small niche. We live in a culture where everything is out in the open, and those who choose to remain mysteriously disclosed are part of a tradition of passé avant culture. The pop audience is not quite sensitive enough to feel the pop sensibility of Why?’s music, and there is still not enough exposure given to this truly unique talent. Why? has the potential to reach a larger audience and expand his fan base. Is the world able to experience music that is microwaved? That is, are people ready to listen to music that is fully naked yet fully clothed? The question stands, how much do people want to see from Why? and, how much is Why? willing to show?