Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Only a one-hit wonder in 1993, Ovis would be huge in 2000
J. Derek Reardon | KC, MO, USA | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Congratulations! Reading this review, you obviously have great musical taste. Either you found this review by reading through my reviews listing (and thank you for taking the time; I appreciate it), or you actually knew the group Ovis existed (probably because of their hit "Regular Thang"). Either way, you've selected a great piece of music that lyrically and instrumentally is a masterpiece that was ahead of its time. Released in 1993, the title of Ovis' (I believe) debut, Schadenfreude (shad * n * froid * uh), is defined in the liner notes as "The pleasure you get from the pain of another; damage joy." And after this most recent listen, I must say that the title is amazingly appropriate given the content of this release. Filled with cutting and double-edged lyrics and vicious guitar and drum hooks, Schadenfreude evokes emotions and elicits responses that, while not overly popular in 1993, would be hugely successful in today's (2000) music scene. The album starts off with its moderate radio hit, "Regular Thang." Great piano hooks, an upbeat drum tempo, and lyrics like "Well I'm sorry if I broke your heart, here's 50 bucks go buy some glue" give this song huge attitude appeal as a dance and strut tune, telling a clingy lover to just buzz off and leave you alone. "Queen of the In-Betweens" is a bit more upbeat but ironically points out a reality a lot of people refuse to face. Slower and a bit depressed sounding, "Too Beautiful People" discusses our society's sad obsession with looking good ("There's nothing uglier to see, I wish one of them was me"). I believe it was released as a single, but it didn't do too well. A bit more of a rockin' tune, "Girlsinger" sings about his angst from being scorned by a "girl singer" as he looks back and realizes his folly. "Superstar" is a speed rap entry for the album, however it is scathingly and intelligently done ("We live in a world where we kill our idols... I gotta watch my back like Caesar") and introduces a rare element to rap - harmonies. A slower ballad type tune with crowd noise, "Never Come" addresses how pointless it is to pine over a lost lover who will never return. "Have it Off" is another fun twangy rock tune that poses the scenario that if his partner wants to have fun, she can have it with or without him - he doesn't really care ("If it gets you in the mood, smear me with Skinny Puppy food"). Rock and attitude prevail through "Everything," where Ovis wants to take the time to get to know everything about his friend's past before getting intimate. Taking on a stronger rock attitude with a punk tip, "I Love You" is an awesome anthem that's great to yell and thrash along with ("I love you like Prince loved Vanity, I love you like Manson loved insanity"). Slower with some hope, "No More Lonely" discusses how if the person would love Ovis (probably a friend discussing her problems with a boyfriend), all her pain and sorrow would disappear. The release concludes with the subdued and minimalist "Five Things" that sings about the pains and troubles of two people who have been involved for a long time but have fallen out of love and into hate. After this most recent listen, I have to admit my opinion has improved about Ovis. This is really a stunning release with intelligent writing, fun orchestration, and a great positive and responsible attitude, so I give it 5 stars. While strumming guitar pop-rock tends to be the dominant sound and unrequited and dejected love is the prevailing theme, there is actually a wide variety of sounds, styles, and subjects that makes listening fun and engaging. My only negative is that despite having 11 songs, the release is only just over 33 minutes long, with many of the songs clocking in under 3 minutes. However, given the depth and power of his music, I really don't feel like Ovis has gypped us any - maybe too much more would have hurt the quality. While an original at the time, Ovis' sound actually reflects a lot of what is popular in mainstream alt-pop today, with great acoustic and electric guitar work, fun and driving drum beats, and an under-produced feel and edge. If you're a fan of Dave Matthews Band or other kind of edgy acoustic groups, give Ovis a listen and judge for yourself. His quasi-whiny, almost Prince sounding vocals could be grating, but they actually work really well with the piano and guitar orchestrations. I might also suggest a certain level of experience and maturity, which will help you enjoy the cynical but fun lyrics. Ovis was definitely ahead of his time. For those of us who caught on when he first hit the scene, pull out this release and give it another listen - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. For those of you new to Ovis, be hip and buy it now. It's trendy, it's happening, and, if you give it some time, it will really begin to grow on you. Angst might be popular, but isn't it more fun to turn it around and have fun with attitude? *veg*"