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What Are You On? Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: 'What Are You On?' is the latest home-recorded offering from New York multi-instrumentalist F.M. Cornog.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. The words are as bleak as ever, and the songs still cut like coal-black shards of anti-pop bitterness. [Apr 2006, p.204]
  2. A deeply satisfying work of storytelling through pop.... What Are You On? is emotionally complex in a way that few of the more prosperous songwriters of Cornog’s generation are capable of producing at this point in their careers.
  3. This is right up there with his best.
  4. 70
    Luckily he counteracts offbeat, sad sucker storytelling with endearing Casio tones and token indie rock chords. [Mar 2006, p.123]
  5. Like every East River Pipe album it’s blemished by imperfections, but Cornog’s lonely, home-recorded drabness goes beyond the "sun, sun, sun" of other retro-oriented musicians to remind us that sunlight reflecting off slabs of urban concrete remains as bleak in 2006 as it was in 1974.
  6. What Are You On? bristles with unchecked bitterness that often curdles into condescension.
  7. His tried-and-true lo-fi routine is still there, and die-hard Pipe fans will probably gobble up this release, but these thirteen smoggy ballads are like that week-old liter of Grape Fanta: you know, flat.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. DaveJ
    Feb 26, 2006
    9
    I've followed this guy since his first Sarah Records single, and last night it hit me as I made a comp throwing together some of his I've followed this guy since his first Sarah Records single, and last night it hit me as I made a comp throwing together some of his finest moments from all the releases of the past 15 years (only 6 but I'll take every one of 'em). F.M. is one hell of a buried treasure and we are lucky he survived this harrowing bout with drugs/alcoholism. All this genius coming from a guy who once lived in a train station, not caring if he lived or died. This release is quickly becoming my favorite, and that's saying a lot. I've made literally thousands of comps thru the years and always include at least 1 ERP song. This is about equal to the actual promotion he gets from not touring. Our pop generation's J.D. Salinger deserves a much wider audience, and he's not going to get it working at Home Depot. Expand
  2. tomh
    Feb 12, 2006
    9
    Viewed against his own work, this album is just as good as 1996's MEL, which is a high compliment. Viewed against Cat Power and other Viewed against his own work, this album is just as good as 1996's MEL, which is a high compliment. Viewed against Cat Power and other "indie albums of the moment", it is superior. Unfortunately, WHAT ARE YOU ON will probably fall by the wayside, as East River Pipe does not tour and does little other promotion. What a shame. Collapse
  3. DougP
    Feb 19, 2006
    9
    Beautiful sadness. Or sad beauty. Hits you in the bottle.
  4. FMFats
    Feb 11, 2006
    8
    Concise pop gems.
  5. EricR
    Feb 15, 2006
    8
    An underrated gem. I'm new to Cornog