Usually when you get a collection like this, it’s only meant for super-fans who want to claim they have everything the artist ever recorded. It won’t be good, but it might be interesting. You can catch a glimpse of what the artist was going to become. Also, you would wait until several albums into their career and use it to sate fans until the next album. Adolescent Funk does not fit into this mold.

Recorded between 1988 and 1992 in Pasadena, this album proves that Toeachizown was no mistake. He didn’t stumble across a new sound – he’s always had it. Surrounding himself with keyboards and drum machines, it becomes obvious that he had to become a professional musician. This doesn’t sound like some kid stumbling through some songs and messing around with some instruments. This is an album with fully-formed musical ideas. There is well developed song structure, excellent keyboard and drum work, layered vocals. The only things that indicate that this album was recorded at home by a teenager are the occasional immature lyrics and the quality of recording the songs on Maxwell XL-II cassette tapes as opposed to in a studio. And while I can’t fully endorse the lyrics of songs like “I Like Your Big Azz (Girl)” or “When I’m With U I Think of Her,” they aren’t as bad as they could be, and there are plenty of songs with perfectly acceptable lyrics.

I think one of the most interesting things about this album is when we get a look at Dãm-Funk’s less obvious influences. You still get plenty of that early ‘80s keyboard funk, but there are also some moments of weird new-age a la Devo that creep in on songs like “It’s My Life!” that make this collection even more fun than expected. Maybe he can find a way to work this into his next album.

When I think of recordings I made in high school–usually on a four-track in a friend’s garage–they’re only going to be entertaining to those of us involved and are going to sound very dated. In Dãm-Funk’s case, he demonstrates that he really had been doing this for years, and he was always really good at it. I’d like to think that even if you didn’t have any back story to this album, you could enjoy this for the great synth-funk that it is.