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Rejected Unknown

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Nov. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Pickled Egg
  • ASIN: B00004WN1G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,837 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe, but Daniel johnston has been making music for almost twenty years now, and this album is just the latest in a long line of beautifully skewed POP music. All the usual themes are here, but the production level has become more glossy without diminishing the unique nature of Daniel's music. The title track is a bittersweet summation of the troubled road that Daniel's life has wandered down, but the 2nd track - 'Funeral Girl' - drastically pulls this album out of dour introspection. Really, the sudden change in this song from haunting, otherwordly narration to trumpet heavy, lo-fi motown boogie has to be heard to be believed. Elsewhere, the songs range from the remarkably accomplished (My Little Darling Girl) to the monumentally loose (sometime spent in Heaven). Personally, it is the latter song that is the most powerful on the album, very ragged but perfectly encapsulating the melancholy and madness of a failed relationship, despite whatever the parties involved may feel to the contrary. So, once again, Daniel proves he has the ability to compose little gems of pop beauty that always deserve a wider audience. Buy it, along with the 1994 'Fun' and the 1988 'Its spooky', this is one of the few Daniel albums widely available in the UK. I promise you, you will not regret it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value 30 July 2003
By Johnny Heering - Published on
Format: Audio CD
So what is Daniel Johnston? Mental patient? Pop phenom? ... Hopeless romantic? Chain smoker? Yes, he is all these things and more. But the Daniel Johnston I am here to talk about is Daniel Johnston the recording artist. He writes eccentric songs that he sings in a childlike voice. His music is very hard to describe, you really need to hear it to get what he is all about. Many of the songs on this album are about romantic yearning, one of his favorite subjects. They are really quite lovely if you give them a chance. Although this album has a more "professional" sound than his earlier albums, it still has a homemade feel to it. There are many instances of "mistakes" that were left in, and sometimes Daniel's voice cracks. These imperfections add to the charm of the album. Fans of "outsider" music should dig this album.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars America's favorite indie eccentric grows up, over and out 6 Dec. 2001
By Paul Hickey - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Neither as good as 1990's "Artistic Vice," nor as lame as the 1989 re-release of "Yip Jump Music," Daniel Johnston's new album "Rejected Unknown" alternates between brilliant writing and erratic, primitive creations that barely qualify as actual songs.
Maybe that is to be expected, and such gaps in consistency certainly should not be seen as detracting from the better work on this record. After all, when listening to Johnston's many weird anthems, ballads, ditties, and various other types of numbers, it is necessary to consider his material in the context of the man at the source. Diagnosed as a manic-depressive in the mid-1980s and, more recently, with diabetes in 1997, Johnston has plenty of reasons for being at odds with the conventional forms of rock and roll. And although medication (when he takes it) appears to stabilize his moods enough so that he can be productive, there is no doubt that Johnston's songs of anguish and joy still owe as much to his bipolar disorder as to his tremendous capacity for inspiration. In this sense, "Rejected Unknown" raises uncomfortable questions about the exploitation of talented people who have disabilities, such as a mental illness. Indeed, it is not going too far to say that some of the tracks on this album sound more like a cry for help than an attempt to entertain or inform.
As usual, most of the best performances Johnston has here come in his upbeat pieces. This guy has been a remarkably astute and perceptive student of popular music for all of his life, and nowhere is that more apparent than with the catchy "Impossible Love" and "Billions/Rock," which draw on influences ranging from the Beatles to Neil Young. Other highlights include "Love Forever" (yet another tragicomic look at the singer's breakup with the woman who broke his heart 15+ years ago) and "Some Time Spent In Heaven" where "we were always havin' fun." Johnston has always been a great lyricist, but on these tunes he demonstrates that he knows how and where to use little melodic and rhythmic hooks as well.
Songs like the bouncy "Favorite Darling Girl" and the minimalistic "Spook" drive this point home, and also underscore the artist's enduring faith in moral and religious values. At one moment he asks, "What will become of us? No one really knows." In the next, he offers us reassurance with the lines, "God is alive, love ain't no jive." Not Shakespeare, perhaps, but nevertheless a different approach to the raptures of love than you hear most of the time in popular music.
Elsewhere, "Davinare" has a nice instrumental arrangement in it, including some real beautiful organ and viola work. "Party" is another tortured look at having fun "with the suicide rock and roll" and the "magic radio." Then there is "Thrill," a fairly lighthearted tune that delivers a dose of optimism tinged with experience and regret. Not to be missed. Once again, Johnston's singing leaves a lot to be desired, but then no one buys his records expecting him to deliver particularly wonderful vocals.
There are about a half-dozen clunkers here. "Funeral Girl," "Dream Scream," "Cathy Cline," and "Girl Of My Dreams" just sort of come across as filler. "Wedding Ring Bells Blues" and "I Lose" are strong lyrically, but the accompaniment really does not do the songs justice. Generally speaking, the track record on "Rejected Unknown" is pretty good. Two-thirds of the work here is decent to fantastic, and if it is not up to the standards of "Artistic Vice," well, few musicians ever manage to reach and maintain that level of achievement. As one of our finest, if not strangest, alternative indie rockers, Johnston has earned respect. If you have never heard him before, start with "AV," but if you enjoyed his previous work, you will probably want to give this one a spin.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You think a penny in my name 20 Oct. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
An excellent, well produced album, Johnston's ability to conjure up raw,unrestricted emotions with the simplest verses and beats is simply amazing. A great follow-up to "FUN", listeners who have not previously enjoyed Daniel Johnston's unique style will find that this album more accessible than any previous.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars when it's great it's great, but... 4 Dec. 2001
By Rob Damm - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Listening to Daniel Johnstson can be a a little bit exhausting. His spooky, cracked, school boys singing, angular arangements and amateur musicianship is certainly not for everyone. But, above all, it's obviously not an act either. Nope, no schtick here. This is all unsettlingly "the real deal". Idiosyncratic deoesn't even begin to describe this album. Some of the songs are rather catchy, almost straight-foward lo-fi folk rock numbers--- others are cacophonies of woozy electric noodling. There are a handful of bonafide classics, but mostly it comes across as a sloppy, unfinished record somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel and The Beach Boys. I actually reccomend it enthusiastically as long as you know what you are in for. It's better than his last album "Fun", as this actually has some melodic songs. It's also an interesting-sounding recording, as it is very minimal and can sound very life-like... for some reason it reminds me of Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" at times. There is a tune where he cops the hook from The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and wraps it around his own factured tune and odd-ball lyrics--- such moments of sheer brilliance make the album easily worthwhile.
The record can be slighlty disturbing with its child-like fixations on romantic love as an abstract concept. There also seems to be whole language of symbols and allusions that the listener can only really be half-plugged into... but, I think that's the point. It also has a voyeuristic quality in that you may feel as if you are witnessing a tortured soul wage war on his demons... essential but flawed listening for the open-minded. Certainly one of the most "pure" and fascinating albums ofthe year.
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh...not his best work 5 Feb. 2015
By denny hanley - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to say, i LOVE Daniel Johnston. His style, his song writing, almost everything. This album is the almost. I didn't like it.
Anyone will have to admit, his voice can be grating at times, and for me this is one of those times. That being said, i own 5 of his albums...and i love them all. This one fell short for me.
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