Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I'm listening to

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" Gil-Scott Heron

Excellent lyrics in this rap-meets-blues-meets-jazz 1970 album which is so up-to-date still today. Gil was clearly ahead of its time and influenced none less than Grandmaster Flash to turn hip-hop into a whole new music genre.

Though Gil's social criticism is as fiery as Flash's or even Public Enemy's - for instance, he complains about not affording a doctor while the government spends money to put a "whitey on the moon", and mentions racist behavior in several ocasion - his musicality is filled with subtlety and smoothness. Many of the tracks are followed by only a flute and some drums, sounding a bit like bossa nova at times.

My tag: Essential.

"Under The Iron Sea" Keane
Quality pop for bitter hearts that is perfect soundtrack for driving, flying, or working. The pianos and desperate vocals from the excellent previous album are still here, but now joined by stronger drums and more distorted guitars - Keane goes hard rock.

I was kind of disappointed by Coldplay's sequel to "A Rush of Blood..." and then was wary Keane couldn't match their masterpiece either. Guess what, they've done it.

My tag: Enjoyable.

"At War With The Mystics" - The Flaming Lips

Months after having bought this, I now fully comprehend the message here. I was looking for existentialist questions such as in "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" but this is a Michael Moore-style album. Half the songs have some reference to George W. Bush in a sense, and when you figure that out you think the other half also means something political.

A bit more experimental in guitars than the previous album, "Mystics" can frigthen at a first hearing for its awkwardness - but then you realize that every beat, every distortion is meant to put the listener in an agitated state of mind, one which incitates action. These days, after listening to the chorus in "The Wand" and "Haven't got a clue" I suddenly felt like joining a Greenpeace parade. "Every time you state your case the more I want to punch your face..."

My tag: Real life.

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