MC Lars

This Gigantic Robot Kills

Rating: 1.5

Label: Crappy/Horris Records

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MC Lars is a self-proclaimed “Post-Punk Laptop” rapper, or as it is known to everybody else, Nerdcore. Which is to say: suburban white guys singing about busting caps in Galaga instead of gangsters. Lars considers himself a role model for a new generation, taking a look at our current pop culture climate and commenting on it. Nerdcore, which mixes hip-hop with nerd culture to create its own genre, really couldn’t have happened before the year 2000. Those who grew up playing Nintendo and having the ability to surf the Internet their entire lives are now coming of age and expressing themselves using the sights and sounds of their youth. One cannot be nerdcore without first admitting they are a nerd themselves. It’s no longer enough to make a Mario reference; you now must create an entire track about the quest to find the princess in another castle. MC Lars follows in the nerdcore footsteps blazed by MC Frontalot and MC Chris, with This Gigantic Robot Kills.

MC Lars’ previous release, 2006’s The Graduate, was filled with broad topics like the corporate music industry, generic crunk rap, illegal music downloads, screamo-emo bands and Hot Topic. On This Gigantic Robot Kills, Lars switches it up by taking on Guitar Hero, hipsters, the green movement and his own greatness. The album’s title track is a story about a boy named Billy and his quest to bring back ska and all things ’90s. It’s also the only track that made me want to move around or dance. Almost every track contains a simple repeating hook that breaks into the chorus… wash, rinse, repeat music. Lars places himself as the central character in tracks like “Where Ya Been Lars?” and “True Player for Real,” but it gets old fast, and when the characters switch to someone else, they always remain one dimensional, especially in “White Kids Aren’t Hyphy.”

The album is littered with guest musicians such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, the MC Bat Commander, Perry Gripp from Nerf Herder, Brett Anderson of The Donnas and many others. Lars called upon that huge number of talented musicians to fill out the album; unfortunately, these contributors aren’t really put to good use. Most simply play the hook or jump in at the chorus, though MC Frontalot is allowed to shine and lays down some of the best rapping on the album in “O.G. Original Gamer.”

“Hipster Girl” is a commentary on the snobby, thrift store group everybody loves to hate. But I’m tired of people making fun of hipsters: it’s no longer clever to point out that some people spend ridiculous amounts of money to look like crap. Bringing up Williamsburg and complaining about overpaying for PBR isn’t exactly original anymore. “Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Doesn’t Make You Slash)” follows the same route, continually pointing out that holding a plastic controller and hitting corresponding colors to a game will not make you into any sort of an actual guitar player, seemingly oblivious to the fact that no one plays Guitar Hero to actually learn the guitar.

The album’s highlight is “Twenty-Three,” which details a friend’s suicide and is the only time Lars actually seems genuine about his subject matter. The lowest point is “35 Laurel Drive,” where the listener is treated to a detailed description on how dirty Lars’ drummer’s house is. Quite a few tracks end with Lars talking about the exact reason he wrote the song in the first place, as if it wasn’t completely obvious by the songs’ titles. This Gigantic Robot Kills is full of catchy samples, but relies far too much on a very obvious shtick that drones on from start to finish. If it’s supposed to stand as a time capsule for pop culture in 2009, then I weep for the future.

by Nicholas Ryan

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