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Frozen Entrée 

Hope Sandoval wants to make you cry

Wednesday, Nov 14 2001
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Moke performs at House of Blues, Monday, November 19.

ARMAND VAN HELDEN Gandhi Kahn (Armed)

The success of “U Don’t Know Me” and “Flowerz” must’ve scared the shit out of Armand Van Helden, for how else would you explain his increasingly obsessive butch behavior ever since? Indeed, both titles — available on his 1999 debut full-length 2Future4U — were two of the gayest house anthems ever made by a street-cred DJ-producer, and when they emerged after his popular remix of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” — featuring the notoriously lewd loop “Gotta be big” — you could imagine dancing homos everywhere having a field day.

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According to Gandhi Kahn, his third album and most militantly guido enterprise, Van Helden desperately wants you to get it straight: He loves the chicks, and he makes music for straight dudes who love the chicks. Recall that Van Helden went out of his way to make “Koochy” the most conspicuous track on his second album, Killing Puritans — conspicuous not only for its flagrant sampling of Gary Numan’s “Cars” but for its smooth-booty poetry: “When I call your house after work/I want that koochy and I’ll make it squirt.” So it’s no surprise that, on Gandhi Kahn, Van Helden’s neurotic hetero drag would ruin the awesome stadium-sound tumult of “I Can Smell You” with its whispers of creepy night-stalker nothings, or give a flaccidly sloshed rendition of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” or jerk off to “Robots Are Cumming” and “Chocolate Covered Cherry.” Yes, Van Helden’s mouth is responsible for all of the vocal tracks on the new album, a shame since he’s gotten some very cool talents to work for him in the past — Common, N’Dea Davenport, Tre “Slimkid” Hardson, etc.

Van Helden wanted to make this a “comedy album,” which explains a few things, and it might even direct you to re-evaluate the loony funk mastery of the album’s best track, “Kentucky Fried Flow,” complete with another catchy Van Helden–style hook. But say we did laugh a few times during this album — then what? (Tommy Nguyen)

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