Cyberpunk 2077 album review by Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves)

RND/ consider a near future historical review of new-classic AAA Games Industry tie-in concept album / OST “Cyberpunk 2077” by little virtual Pop Rock star Johnny Silverhand:

3994 x 3725 .jpg, edited in Gimp via online images

Keanu Reeves Johnny Silverhand Cyberpunk 2077 album cover

LP now available, faded and long abandoned at the bottom of bargain buckets in all good mom n’ pop supermarket stores – “I’m afraid I wouldn’t even buy that for a dollar.”

All information should be free. It is not. Information is power and currency in the virtual world we inhabit. So like, mistrust authority and trust me instead. Cyberpunks are true rebels. Cyberculture is coming in under the radar of ordinary society..
– Johnny Silverhand

This spoken-word prologue kicks off Johnny Silverhand’s sixth studio LP, Cyberpunk 2077, a 20-track concept album that took Johnny san’s world-famous virtual persona and multi-whatever sound and attempts to bring them into the near future – both in terms of the lyrical subject matter, which focused on ‘futuristic themes’, and in terms of the ‘exciting computer-based’ production methods used to create the music. Released just last week to zero fanfare, a little more than three years after Johnny’s dozen-selling My Breaktaking Life album, Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the more heavily promoted cynical major videogame tie-in events of the summer, with multiple cheap Youtube videos filmed for the single “I Want Room Service!” and a groundbreaking electronic press kit shipped to fanboy neckbeards on a musty 3.5 inch Amiga floppy disk.

For Silverhand, using computers as a studio tool became something of an obsession after the freak gardening accident that left him with an artificial chrome plated hand in early 1990.

“I wanted to get back to my cyberpunk pop rock roots and DIY,” he explained in an interview following Cyberpunk’s release. “First I read William Gibson’s Neuromancer on a Kindle, then I found out a Virtual Studio where I could bring a computer into my home and record my band with it.. it was like being part of the Avant Garage once again.”

It seems that DIY vibe has not only helped revitalize Silverhand’s songwriting spirits, it’s given him the chance to – in his view at least – offer a rebuttal to the fads of the early so called Near Future Retro 80s. “I throw off the shackles of the immediate future to return to the sexy present” he explained to Synthetic Entertainment Daily.

”I was looking for a way to break the stalemate The Industry has gotten into. This is in a way my sort of answer to retro 90s mainstream pop rock. I know there’s a way of using this modern technology stuff to bring a lot of hot sensual cybernetic rawness back.”

He’s even clearer about his urge to Remain Relevant when speaking with Tha New York Underground, saying, “It’s like it’s 1983 all over again. I better wake up and be into it. I’m sitting here, a 1987 style Cyberpunk watching Billy Idol on the MTV talk about punk, watching my mother talk about punk on my cool videophone watch, and this is my reply. It’s just my own way of saying, ‘Wooo! What about that, you crazy kidz? Hey, I’m totally Lollapalooza too! I’m The Cyber Punk; you guys are still all total punks!”

Unfortunately for Silverhand, all this overbearing enthusiasm – not to mention a heavy promotional campaign that included a video for “I Want Room Service” directed by a distant cousin of effects guru Stan Winston – doesn’t quite seem to translate to the music, which so far inspires only widespread indifference and derision. In fact, poor Johnny has recently found himself beset by slow, saddened head shaking from all sides; first from members of the nascent Intertubes community, who feel like Silverhand is trying to co-opt ‘their’ culture for AAA Industry gain (oh the ironies), then by pop rock pundits who accuse him of writing sub-par material for the album – and finally by Fans (collectively known as Lord Edge) who nowadays more or less completely ignore anything remotely to do with Cyberpunk, simply because it’s all too corny to be associated with.

Desperate to divorce himself from Johnnyhand’s Cyberpunk Try-Hardness, William Gibson, whose generally crap 1984 supermarket checkout novel Neuromancer helped inspire Silverhand’s Cyberpunk journey, hinted at the cultural disconnect that probably doomed the project from the beginning. “I just don’t quite get what he’s on,” Gibson admitted when asked about the album. “I don’t er, quite see the connection.” This is interesting, considering that Gibson was recently interviewed for TV on the set for Straight-To-Torrent Cyberpunk Classic “Johnny Mnemonic” and was basically short stroking over how incredibly amazing it all was – how His Private Cyberpunk Dreams were being realised realtime before his eyes by can’t-direct-traffic director Robert Longo.

A London journalist said that, when Johnny did his Cyberpunk press junket over there, he made it a condition of getting an interview with him that every journalist had to have read Neuromancer. Anyway, turns out they all did (and only ever thought it was nothing special)  but when they met with Silverhand, the first thing that became readily apparent was that Johnny hadn’t read it. So they called him on it in a roundabout way, and he said he didn’t need to – he just absorbed it through Techno Osmosis.

While “I Want Room Service” was a minor hit in one bar in Thailand by the docks, cresting at the upper reaches of their Rock chart hanging in the toilet, the album barely cracked the Top 500, falling off in less than two months and bringing a quick, undignified end to Silverhand’s promotion plans for the record – which seems a cheap laugh riot, because whatever the music’s merits, Silverhand’s genuine plastic excitement for ‘cyberpunk technology’ points the way toward a lot of the recording, production, and promotion methods that will no doubt come to dominate the AAA Games Industry in the decades to follow.

“We’re going to be lit by these stream-of-unconsciousness images,” Silverhand enthused to The New York Underground when asked about his ideas for a Cyberpunk tour. “It’s going to almost be like, that’s your mind, man. And we’ll have four people swarming the gig with camcorders, which then will be put live into this hot blend. And people from the audience can bring their filmed footage – them with their cyberpunk mother, I don’t know! And then we’ll slap it all up on the big screen. I think you have to start looking to get to ‘the future’ of what Cyberpunk should be like. Like, we’re working hard; we’re pushing ‘the tech’ to the edge of reality and beyond, man.”

Ultimately (that is, from the outset), Cyberpunk seems to be the birthing death knell for Silverhand’s continued irrelevance as an artist; his highest-profile project for the remainder of this week is a cameo appearance in the computer generated Adam Sandler Drew Barrymore rom-com Rectal Colon Cancer Chuckles, and he isn’t scheduled to release another album of new material until the circa-2000s roll around again. But while it would be a stretch to say it doesn’t include any memorable songs, Silverhand can at least take comfort in the knowledge that Cyberpunk 2077 is a public record of embarrassing, narratively clunky failures made ahead of its time.. well, twenty minutes at least.

“Just garbage.. get that outa here!”
– Character J Bone on the burnt corpse of Cyberpunk, Johnny Mnemonic (Robert Longo 1995)

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