Published Mar 19, 2010Having already succeeded in constructing the historical tale of a fictitious city through song with his previous Brooklynatti project, Tanya Morgan member Donwill returns to the concept form with his ambitious new send-up of the Cusack classic High Fidelity. Assuming the role of Don Cusack, the crafty MC draws primarily from the film's love story elements, though cleverly twisting the various plot cues around his personal experiences to create a tale that's incredibly relatable and heartfelt. Themes of love, jealousy, commitment and infidelity are each brought to life with the help of a host of bit-part lyricists, though the most true-to-life moment comes via the MC's own touching, self-produced message to his late father: "December 27th." While the stuffy "Champion Vinyl" is the lone cut to touch on the movie's record store snobbery angle, a stream of diverse backdrops that root tracks, like the dreamy "Breathe," with its acoustic guitar finger picking, or the house-leaning "Love Junkie," certainly fill that quotient. While having seen High Fidelity may help some get a few more laughs from Dowill's well-plotted musical interpretation, the disc more than succeeds as a poignant, yet comical, standalone study of the relationships we've all lived.
Once you decide you were going to soundtrack High Fidelity, how did you determine what elements you wanted to write to?
It was more or less me pairing up my life's experiences with the film. So the way I did it was pick out the most poignant parts of the movie, and obviously some content had to get cut out because I couldn't talk about it all. Like the whole party with Marie De Salle ― Lisa Bonet's character ― got glossed over a little bit, but it's more a process of picking out what I felt like drove the story in synopsis form.
Do you feel you could have stuck with the idea of writing an entire record about love if you weren't doing this particular soundtrack?
I don't think I would have, but I think I could have. The thing is, for some reason I find the subject of love really interesting, so for me it's easier to write about love and write about relationships and girls. I really can't even do the braggadocio rhymes that well anymore just because that stuff is kind of boring to me. I do it sometimes, but I'm just more drawn to subject-driven material, and love is a very dynamic subject.
Does focussing on a single concept help the records come together any quicker?
For me, personally, it helps me to sketch out the material and to know what I'm writing about, as opposed to recording aimlessly and patch working a couple songs together. I can't usually create like that, but the funny thing is that's my next challenge: to do an album where there is no concept. I envy some MCs and how they can just pontificate about nothing so well, and just use words and wordplay, alliteration, metaphors. But I kind of need a topic. (Interdependent Media)