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The End of Comedy

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Album Review

Michael Collins started his musical career under the name Run DMT, making lo-fi psych-pop with a chillwave feel. After a lawsuit and a slight change of focus, he reappeared as Salvia Plath, releasing the nicely done psych-folk album The Bardo Story in 2013. One (more) name change and musical shift later, Collins came back with Drugdealer, a project with a more laid-back, early-'70s singer/songwriter vibe. Stripped of much of the densely layered, heavily psychedelic approach he'd used in the past, Collins is more content to focus on the songs as much as the sound this time around. On 2016's The End of Comedy, many of the songs are free of artifice, boiled down to voice and guitar or left nearly naked to let the emotional impact of the melodies and words cut more deeply. Working with a bunch of collaborators, Collins acts as ringleader as the album plays out like a lovely blend of Harry Nilsson-style witty pop and smoky Laurel Canyon crooning, with a little bit of big-city string arrangements and even a touch of rainy-streets-at-night jazz here and there. He chose the people to sing the songs very well. Ariel Pink dials back the weirdness to deliver the melancholy country-rock of "Easy to Forget" with some real feeling, Danny James has to sing about a hundred "la-las" in the introspective ballad "My Life" and gives each one his all, and best of all, Weyes Blood gives her two features the kind of patchouli-drenched soul the best Laurel Canyon singer/songwriters had, but with a stronger voice. Her singing on the title track and "Suddenly" raises goose bumps as she and Collins combine to make music the equal of those they set out to pay tribute to. The tracks Collins sings himself, like the slow-rolling "Sea of Nothing" and the cocktail-hour-smooth "Were You Saying Something?," are fine examples of modern singer/songwriter material, and if they sparkle a little less than those that his guests sing, that's OK. Add in the charming instrumental interludes that string the songs together and the album is a half hour of relaxed, unassuming soft rock pleasure. It's far less complicated than his work as Salvia Plath, far more direct than his Run DMT-era stuff, and better than both. And best of all, no bad wordplay in the band's name.

Customer Reviews

Give it a listen

I was scrolling through some music with intent to purchase an album, then stumbled upon this one. I loved every song. Give it a listen!

Truly Incredible

Everything about this album is beautiful! If you like Loaded by the Velvet Underground this is definitely for you. The songs sound like they really have a lot of thought put into them. Very glad I randomly came across this


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

After stints making music under the names Run DMT and Salvia Plath, L.A. artist Michael Collins changed his name to the less pun-based, yet still provocative Drugdealer. Run DMT had been a lo-fi psychedelic project starting in 2009 that released a couple albums before being sued by an EDM band of the same name. After changing the project's name to Salvia Plath, Collins took a folkier, more layered approach on the 2013 album The Bardo Story. With Drugdealer, Collins changed directions again, looking...
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The End of Comedy, Drugdealer
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