New Year's Eve with Kendrick Lamar

Like Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet, Kendrick Lamar’s self-explanatorily titled Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is about children lost to overmedication. A casualty of first-world comfort, Lamar raps of being strung out on pharmaceuticals and MP3 blogs while soporific synthscapes bleed overhead, reinforcing the hurt in his nervy, robotically pitched voice. When he alluded to “sippin’ cough syrup like it’s water” on last year’s “A.D.H.D.,” he meant it literally, but it was a moving metaphor for liquidification of the soul. Try as he might to escape in Styrofoam-cupped soft drinks with purpling additives, Lamar has too active a mind to keep it off worldlier matters. His outlook on humanity says that people are either born trapped or think themselves into traps. The Lamar of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is a self-hating nobody at the intersection where shellshock brushes up against inertia, where jittery fright meets withering heartsickness.
Mon., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., 2012

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