VLK “Avril and Sean in Camden”
C57 (Strategic Tape Reserve)

Oh VLK, I’m so sorry. Look, it’s bad enough having to hoof around Camden in that traffic (Camden is a gross, gross industrial city across the river from Philly, where I spent a lot of time), but it’s even worse when you’re riding shotgun in your employer’s Camry for a summer, life sucked out of the conversation because what’s there to talk about with this jerk? Nothing. Nothing to talk about because there’s nothing in common. And we’re talking 2004, before even the unabashed ubiquity of smartphones (iPhone launched in 2007 – I was still rocking Brickbreaker on my Blackberry), so you couldn’t just retreat into handheld oblivion, could you? Or at least pack your device with music so you could tune out the external. Nope, once that conversation hit the skids, it was all conservative talk radio and Avril Lavigne, wasn’t it? Oh, you poor thing, VLK. Well, I’m not here to pity you, because you took your employer’s love of all things conservative and Avril Lavigne (well, specifically Let’s Go) and turned that sticky black psychic horror into something weirdly listenable. Yes sirree, this mixtape plunders the phonics (well, sonics, actually – that sort of didn’t work) of that source material and emerges on the other end with a funky, weird, and enjoyable monument to that horrible time in your life. And you know what, VLK? You’ve sort of proven that you can turn crap into gold, because I can think of no worse crap than conservative talking heads, and I can think of no worse music than Avril Lavigne. Strike that – there’s lots of worse music than Avril Lavigne, but I bet listening to it while trapped in a car during that shitty summer felt like the equivalent of Guantanamo Bay sound torture. Nevertheless, the mashup of these ideas translates amazingly into a cut-and-paste effort that serves as an outlet for your frustrations. Can you listen to this tape without cringing, or is it therapeutic? I hope it’s the latter. God, Camden sucks. Sean Hannity can eat a butt. Maybe one of the “butts” on “Contra” that has the six-year-old in me giggling forever. So now that I like this tape, does that mean I also like Avril Lavigne? Oh Christ, I hope not.

Strategic Tape Reserve

--Ryan Masteller