Free Energy – “Get Ready” (Stereogum Premiere)
Tomorrow, the comedian and actor DC Pierson will publish Crap Kingdom, his second novel. It tells the story of a young man who discovers that he’s the Chosen One in a not-that-great magical realm. And Pierson’s also compiled a soundtrack album of sorts, getting people like Ted Leo, Jean Grae, and the Rosebuds to write songs for the book. That compilation, Songs For Crap Kingdom, will be a free download on the Crap Kingdom website tomorrow. And below, you can download “Get Ready,” a typically fun-as-hell contribution from Philly power-poppers Free Energy, and read a review of the book from Free Energy frontman Paul Sprangers.
Words from Sprangers:
Pierson’s epic tale playfully subverts Campbell’s “hero’s journey” by masterfully twisting and tweaking the conventions of the hero’s story to great and entertaining comedic effect–no doubt a function of his thorough improv training and success as a comedian.
The tale is also heartbreaking in its subject matter: it seems to indicate that our current way of living endangers even our fantasy worlds. That the greed and gluttony of consumerism is gumming up our stories of great heroes and chosen ones. It is in this sense that this story, and this author, are of the utmost contemporary importance: we don’t need another hero’s story about wizards, or skywalkers, or even treasure hunters. We need a hero who accepts the call to adventure and finds only the spoiled remains of a society that has become mindless and wasteful; a hapless hero that travels to the heart of our contemporary darkness.
Now, my analysis slightly belies the actual tone of the story- one of bright eyed wonder and sincere enthusiasm. This story is wonderfully entertaining and written at a level appropriate for young readers, however there is a darkness in the content that will the sting the hearts of older, more cynical readers who might realize that they’ve inadvertently sacrificed their personal dreams and fantasies for the crude, fleeting satisfactions of the material world.
A brilliant, funny, touching meta-fantasy where the hero’s quest intersects with the waste of American society.
Crap Kingdom is out tomorrow on Viking Juvenile.