Har Mar Superstar
It’s easy to call Har Mar Superstar, the sexed-up alter-ego of Sean Tillman, a joke, especially compared to his folksy indie band Sean Na Na and old, bass-heavy noise/pop/punk rockers Calvin Krime.
A hipster joke between 2002 and 2004, when Fab Moretti of The Strokes was his drummer and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a pre-super icon Beth Ditto appeared on his records, but now just an old joke by a man who doesn’t look as much like porn king Ron Jeremy as he used to.
But that would be unfair, because while Tillman’s lusty electro R&B can sound like his least sincere project, he does know what he’s doing: he’s written songs for J. Lo, Holly Valance appeared on 2004 single ‘DUI’ and has finished sets with faithful R. Kelly covers, although Britney Spears’ management turned down the lead single from ‘Dark Touches’ ‘Tall Boy’. It sounds like a Britney song - weird, clicky post-Neptunes/Timbaland electro-pop with Har Mar using the robotic voice she’s actually made her singing voice - but seeing as a ‘tall boy’ is either a beer or a boner, it’s understandable that ‘her people’ turned it down (not that she’s shied away from raunchy).
Tillman can sing too, as he shows on bombastic ‘80s synth-pop ‘Sunshine’, with its wiry funk line, even if he can’t hit a falsetto; not for lack of trying on ‘I Got Next’s’ cheap electro and the anti-gangsta ‘Gangsters Want To Cuddle Me’. Most of the time though, he employs MCing that’s worse than amateur to spin grim innuendo (“let me taste your apple sauce”) or unleash streams of nonsense (‘Creative Juices’ references everything from Motley Crue to ‘Streetcar Named Desire’).
Despite the flaws, there are fun moments when Har Mar’s crotch isn’t the centre of attention. ‘Dope, Man’ is an upbeat Jackson 5 song reimagined by a sleazy small-time drug dealer, and the feisty punk-funk on ‘Girls Only’ and ‘Turn The Key’ turns down the sex factor. On the final track, Har Mar pledges to “keep our dancefloors burning”, shame he doesn’t do it more often.