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Rejected Unknown

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Album Review

The title of Rejected Unknown might be aimed at Atlantic Records, who held Johnston in contractual limbo for years with little support or promotion after his major-label debut, 1994's Fun. Johnston was finally dropped by Atlantic, and the long since-completed Rejected Unknown finally emerged on Gammon Records in 2001 (after a planned Tim Kerr release was scrapped). While the music on Rejected Unknown can at first sound overly self-deprecating and even angry at times, Johnston is actually painting a much larger picture — a picture of endless longing for acceptance, hopeless romanticism, and unrequited love. On the rollicking piano-driven "I Lose," Johnston sings "Got left out of the 'in' crowd/I seen their type/A bunch of buttwipes that rule," at once as sarcastic as Randy Newman and with the endearing quality for which Johnston has become known. Plus, Johnston's musical contribution to the album is far greater than on Fun, adding piano, guitar, and even percussion to many tracks. As with most of Johnston's albums, there are a few songs that just fall flat or come off as a little too coy, but overall, it's a quality addition to the catalog of one of songwriting's true originals.

Biography

Born: 22 January 1961 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As with other talented but troubled artists such as Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson, and Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston fights a daily battle with the chronic mental illness that has plagued him nearly his entire life. However, despite recurrent bouts of delusional behavior wherein he has physically endangered himself and others, Johnston has carved out a respectable, influential career as a singer/songwriter of extraordinary talent who has grown since his first crudely recorded cassette was released in...
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