Jones's talent is exciting because it reaches from pop melody to stranger realms; time and time again, the unique perspective of his songs dissolves into embattled technological chatter. The chorus of "The Hair" is as memorable as the one to Wire's "I Am the Fly," and even more layered in its critique of a certain greed, and yet it's sung in a tone that's a sly update on Smokey Robinson. In More Brilliant than the Sun, Eshun explored "Myth Science" through written or typed words; Jones's "Mythologies (Myths I and II)" does so in sound, with skepticism — his voice is processed in a way that brings the sweet but stinging theoretical distance of Scritti Politti's honeybee R&B to mind. A motif from "Mythologies" returns in "Deer in the Headlights," further proving the formidable post-Baldwin, post-Basquiat methods within his fractured madness.
By the end of Dislocated Genius, as "Debaser" forms an abstract contemporary take on the stripped-down funk of very early Prince, Jones has made it clear that blackface is only the surface and the start of a defiant creative imagination just as comfortable being mauve, olive green, or "ho-ish pink." In the final minutes of this extraordinary album, he's turned Rimbaud's “The Drunken Boat” into a love song dedicated to someone who "defecate(s) words like Molly Bloom," and managed to make the vocal melody float like a spectral ship on an ocean at night.
He may be a "laughingstock since the age of 13," but this self-described "gaudy cross of Streisand and Curtis Mayfield" is still traveling. Where is he headed next? A place I'd like to hear. SFBG