0030. Die Antwoord – Ten$ion [2012]

Die_Antwoord_Ten$Ion_cover_art

Die Antwoord is an eccentric techno hip-hop trio from South Africa with a style like none other.  Both their music and their visuals are intensely jarring and fascinating, in my opinion.  I finally got a chance to see them live last September, and holy hell, they were fucking fantastic.  I first heard of them when a brief video called Zef Side made the rounds on social media.  It was interesting, but not nearly as much as the video for the first single from this album: “I Fink U Freeky.”

Check it out:

Awesome shit, right?  No?  Well, fuck you then.  Honestly, even if you aren’t into hip-hop, or their brand of hip-hop, I think you’ve got to appreciate their unique style.  Anyway, I love every track on this album, and I hope you will, too.

Wikipedia Says:

Ten$ion is the second studio album by South African hip-hop/rave group Die Antwoord. The album was released on the iTunes Store on 29 January 2012[1] and on CD on 7 February.[2] The album was released on Die Antwoord’s label Zef Recordz after leaving their previous label Interscope due to pressure on Die Antwoord to become “more generic”.[3]The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart.[4]

Promotion

A trailer for the album was released 22 January 2012 featuring “I Fink U Freeky”.[5] The group also appears in both a video and print ads forAlexander Wang fashion line “T” for Spring 2012.[6] The ad features the song “Fatty Boom Boom“. The group also had a performance spot on the American television show Late Show with David Letterman, in which they performed “I Fink U Freeky.” [7]They performed the same song on another US late night TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[8]

Singles

“Fok Julle Naaiers” (English: “Fuck You Fuckers”[9]) was released as a music video on Vimeo on 7 November 2011.[10] “I Fink U Freeky” (“I Think You’re Freaky”) was also released as a music video on 31 January 2012.[2] On 5 June 2012 a video for “Baby’s on Fire” was released.[11] On 16 October 2012 a video for “Fatty Boom Boom” was released. It lampoons Lady Gaga in response to her offer to have Die Antwoord be the opening act on her tour.[12]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (55/100)[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[14]
The Guardian 3/5 stars
One Thirty BPM (75%)
No Ripcord 7/10
Blare 2.5/5 stars
Pitchfork Media 4.2/10
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars
The Phoenix 2.5/4 stars
PopMatters 6/10 stars
Tiny Mix Tapes 2.5/5 stars

The album holds a 55 on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews.Pitchforks Andrew Ryce called it “id rap at its worst” and that “even their excess lacks scope or imagination” concluding with “For a band so obsessed with its own self-consciously humorous image, Ten$ionin part fails because it feels so strangely humorless” and that they “picked the most unfortunate parts of their oversized, manufactured personalities to highlight”.[15] Monica Herrera of Rolling Stone cited the album as “a marathon of overwrought beats and clunky horn-dog-rebel boasts” going on to say Jimmy Iovinewho signed the band to Interscope was “on to sounder investments these days.”[16]Joshua Khan of Blare stated the album had “more confidence” than $O$ but it was “forced, coming off senseless and providing some sort of proof their fire might finally be cooling off.”[17]

Allison Stewart of The Washington Post noted the album’s “simplest songs” were “hopelessly complex” while saying the album was “better than it needs to be, but not as good as it thinks it is” but that the album is “peppered with great moments”.[18]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Never Le Nkemise 1” Watkin Tudor Jones, DJ Hi-Tek 2:52
2. “I Fink U Freeky” Yolandi Visser, Lily Roberts, DJ Hi-Tek, Jones 4:40
3. “Pielie (Skit feat. Ninja) Leon Du Toit 0:09
4. “Hey Sexy” Visser, DJ Hi-Tek, Jones 5:08
5. Fatty Boom Boom DJ Hi-Tek, Visser, Jones 3:45
6. “Zefside Zol (Interlude) DJ Hi-Tek, Jones 0:56
7. “So What?” Visser, DJ Hi-Tek, Jones 3:51
8. “Uncle Jimmy (Skit) Uncle Jimmy, DJ Hi-Tek, Visser 1:21
9. “Baby’s On Fire” Jones, DJ Hi-Tek, Visser 3:56
10. “U Make a Ninja Wanna Fuck” Jones 3:16
11. “Fok Julle Naaiers” Jones, DJ Hi-Tek, Visser 3:54
12. “DJ Hi-Tek Rulez” DJ Hi-Tek 1:37
13. “Never Le Nkemise 2” Jones, Visser, DJ Hi-Tek 3:21
Total length:
38:46

Charts

Chart Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 38
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[21] 40
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[22] 156
Canadian Albums Chart[23] 73
Dutch Albums Chart[24] 87
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 100
U.S. Billboard 200[4] 143
U.S. Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums[4] 8
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums[4] 2
U.S. Billboard Independent Albums[4] 20
U.S. Billboard Rap Albums[4] 12

Release history

Region Date Format(s) Label
United States 29 January 2012 Digital Zef Recordz
7 February 2012[26] CD
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