Mickey Avalon (Bonus Track Version)

Mickey Avalon (Bonus Track Version)

As gimmicky as it seems, an Orthodox Jewish ex-junkie Hollywood street hustler might be just what music needs right now. Mickey Avalon’s seedy background is part and parcel of what makes him so appealing, but none of that would matter if he didn’t have the musical imagination to back it up. Like Beck’s “Loser” — another unlikely hit from an earlier Los Angeles oddball —“Jane Fonda” takes a hip-hop beat from the trash can, a get-under-your-skin hook, and some delightfully leftfield rhyme skills, and fashions from it a hit song. To call Avalon a white-boy hack is to underestimate his style. While it’s impossible to listen to Mickey Avalon without thinking of MC Paul Barman, the album also bears similarities to the chimerical outbursts of Bay Area cult rapper Andre Nickatina, not to mention traces of Slick Rick and Snoop Dogg’s sing-song sex raps. With gutter sex appeal to spare, Avalon spills the sordid details of his past and milks his seamy persona for everything it’s worth. Even through the sleazy boasts of “So Rich, So Pretty,” “Mr. Right” and “My Dick,” Avalon pulls punchlines on himself and manages to charm his way out of being an asshole — like the class miscreant who always flirts with the teacher. Lined with hook-laden hits for a party gone wrong, Mickey Avalon is the perfect antidote to the prefabricated pop-star pap currently clogging the airwaves.

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