Die Antwoord – Ten$ion Die Antwoord – Ten$ion

Die Antwoord is a very visual band. Since their 2010 unearthing, this South African quasi ironic rap group has been hinged on the visual accompaniment to their music. Die Artwoord’s style is an artful blend of low culture, folk elements and batshit crazy occultism which intends to entertain as much as it frightens. Oh, I also forgot about the dicks. Dicks as far as the eye can see. The band’s use of monster costumes, phallic imagery and once popular elements comically out of fashion has made their videos one of the more exciting treasures. Too band their music feels oddly estranged without those lurid images.

“Zef” is an important concept for Die Antwoord. The term seems to be a glorification of garish elements popular in lower class African societies. The term also embodies an ironic embrace for outdated global styles and fashions. “Zef” appears to be a style as well as a status symbol for a culture battling economic strife. Die Antwoord, while not responsible for Zef’s creation, has seemed to embody the term and overall concept. The Zef style can be seen in one of the Die Antwoord’s first video/documentary “Zef Side.” After having a male member bouncing inside a pair of Pink Floyd boxers apart of the visual climax of your video, the sky was really the limit for this band. Die Antwoord soon followed “Zef Side” with an incresinging penchant for weirdness and insanity ending at the crest of insanity with “Evil Boy.” If you have not seen the “Evil Boy” video take stock of your visual sanity at the fourth verse. Die Antwoord followed “Evil Boy” with “Rich Bitch” which while a mediocre song on their $O$ album was saved with a no holds barred video of fuckwild insanity. This again brings us back to the point of visual accompaniment with the band’s newest effort Ten$ion.

Ten$ion was preceded by the video “Fok Julle Naaiers” which by all accounts was my worst fever dream come reality. The following video “I Fink You Freaky” shared the same elements with its nightmarish greyscaled fantasies. The two singles compared to $O$, musically, are weaker despite the increasing visual artistry. Ten$ion as an audio product fails to elicit the same emotion and response as their videos. Much like the Lonely Island there is a growing disparity between the words and intended message.

Evaluating Die Antwoord without videos is a problem. The whole of Ten$ion rests in a purgatorial wasteland of music which could or could not be transformed by videos. This seems like a terrible fate for a band but it is only the result of previous mastery over the visual art. Without pictures, Die Antwoord rests in shadows only defined by odd references to rave culture and trance anthems. The songs, as a whole, are dull and slightly sleep inducing. I could sit here and list the number of middle road songs which would be transformed by the addition of monsters and phallic statures, so I will. “Fatty Boom Boom,” Baby’s On Fire” and “Never Le Nkemise 2” would all make awesome videos to send to my friends but as songs they only do half the job.

To disparage this band feels like an injustice. Die Antwoord’s voyage to reinvent aesthetics and sexualize the male species within the hip hop community is fantastic. Additionally their embrace of low culture and nerve racking horror within the hazy racial world of South African culture is daring if not confusing. I may give Ten$ion a mediocre review but I have nothing but praises for the band who made it.

Never Le Nkemise 1
I Fink U Freeky (I Think You’re Freaky)
Pielie (Skit)
Hey Sexy
Fatty Boom Boom
Zefside Zol (Interlude)
So What?
Uncle Jimmy (Skit)
Baby’s On Fire
U Make A Ninja Wanna F-ck
Fok Julle Naaiers (English: F-ck You All)
DJ Hi-Tex Rulez
Never Le Nkemise 2

Die Antwoord - Ten$ion, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-02-13T04:19:38-08:00 rating 2.5 out of 5

Comments are closed.