thu 11/08/2022

CD: Har Mar Superstar - Bye Bye 17 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Har Mar Superstar - Bye Bye 17

CD: Har Mar Superstar - Bye Bye 17

Can the Minnesota sex god pull off his change of direction?

Har Mar Superstar: more than just a Ron Jeremy lookalike

On the cover of Bye Bye 17, Har Mar Superstar the creation of musician Sean Tillman  is still wearing his infamous underpants. Inside, however, his music has moved on. By trading Har Mar's former Prince stylings for influences ranging from Sam Cooke to Curtis Mayfield, Tillman has found a whole new sound palette to play with. And he's getting completely stuck in.

This change of direction makes for a riotously entertaining listen, and a very satisfying one too. Behind Tillman’s personas – he also performs as Sean Na Na and with the “alternative supergroup” Gayngs – there has always been a serious writing and performing talent. Surrounded by dense horns and Ronettes-style backing vocals, here he shows both how sweetly he can sing and why commercial acts such as J-Lo and Kelly Osborne buy songs from him. Behind all that showmanship clearly lies a whole lot of craft.

Of course Bye Bye 17 is written for a particular, alternative market, but it’s much less niche than the previous four Har Mar Superstar albums. Less ironic too. Still, some of the songs are naturally meant to be pretty funny, especially “Don’t Make Me Hit You”, a doo-wop tune about a reluctant bondage partner

One thing still nags though  the production values are awful. On the sharp, sassy “We Don’t Sleep”, Har Mar sounds like he is singing through an old sock. “WWW” not only sounds like a song from 1962, it sounds like it was recorded then too. In fact, it’s only really the single, “Lady, You Shot Me”, that sounds how you'd want it to be: clear and uncompressed. Surely, in these digital days, even a low budget shouldn’t mean a bad mix? Fans may not mind half the record sounding like a bootleg, but it won’t help HMS win the wider audience he fully deserves.

Watch Har Mar Superstar perform "Lady You Shot Me" live


Behind all that showmanship clearly lies a whole lot of craft


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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