Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me (1977)
Start with: “You Keep On Looking”
Why it’s worth revisiting: This album remains one of the all-time underground classics, and with good reason – it's equal parts weird and delightful, boasting not only great compositions and performances, abut also a recording esthetic that many have sought to emulate in the ensuing years. Never simply weird for the sake of being weird, Mr. Wilson's compositions brilliantly combine jazzy-funk stylings with avant-garde explorations to create this profoundly cohesive and accessible album.
The brief, abstract, and atmospheric “Another Time I Could Have Loved You” immediately lets the listener know that it’s probably advisable to buckle up, though the irresistible funky bounce of “You Keep on Looking” arrives just in time to signal that although Wilson’s world is an unusual one, it’s also an easy one to fall in love with.
“6.4 = Make Out” has become a calling card of sorts for the genius, and still a fan favorite nearly four decades after its appearance on this classic album. Gary has told us in confidence what the tantalizingly cryptic title might mean, but we’ll leave that part to your imaginations. This track also features an abstract, dreamlike breakdown in the middle of it – a feature that over the years has developed into a theatrical centerpiece for many of Gary's popular live shows.. “When You Walk Into My Dreams” –with its friendly funk and interminably cool lyrics– fortifies the appeal and accessibility of the album, while the abstract darkness of “Loneliness” reminds the listener of Gary’s lifelong interest in John Cage, musique concrète, and the avant-garde.
“Cindy” – another perennial fan favorite – enchants with its classic synthesizers and lyrical dedication to yet another fictional (?) young woman in Gary’s lifelong sonic diary.“You Were Too Good to Be True” is a delightfully soulful instrumental that found new life and listeners in 2015 when Earl Sweatshirt sampled it on his track “Grief”, and “Groovy Girls Make Love at the Beach” is every bit the off-kilter jazz-funk party the title promises. “I Wanna Lose Control” is yet another vintage banger that is nigh impossible to resist, while title track “You Think You Really Know Me” lends abstraction to the compelling push-and-pull that is so characteristic of Wilson’s work. The darkly majestic “Chromium Bitch” could easily have found a home on a 70s B-movie score, with its cinematic flair and evocative character, while the synthy bounce of final track “And Then I Kissed Your Lips” reminds listeners that weird and significant as this music may be, it’s equally fun.
Happy listening, weirdos!