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The Richest Man in Babylon
| With The Richest Man in Babylon, Thievery Corporations'
D.C.-based producers Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have taken their trademark
sound even deeper, exploring a more introspective, darker sound. A musical
polemic against global capital exploitation, the title track admonishes,
"There is no wisdom in your freedom/The richest man in Babylon."
The message reappears throughout the album, from brooding ballads in
French, "Simple Histoire (A Simple History)" to Brazilian
blues on "Meu Destino," all the while never losing sight of
The Richest Man in Babylon combines a downbeat soul with a social consciousness. Rarely does such smooth music have so much to say. Casey Adams
of Blood to the Head
Coldplay - Capitol
A Rush of Blood to the Head is all about melancholy, from mellowness to sweet longing. The members of Coldplay may have gotten a bad reputation for the whinings of Parachutes, their 2000 debut, but they have come a long way in the last two years. As if a rebuttal of Parachutes, the members of Coldplay make a dramatic yet slightly familiar opening in A Rush… with the repetitive accompaniment of the first track, “Politik.” The lyrics scream, “Open up your eyes,” just in case listeners don’t already get that idea from the incessant throbbing of the electric guitar and drums. This selection is eerily reminiscent of their chart-topper “Yellow” from their debut.
|The strange chord progression of “Clocks”
makes it difficult to discern whether the song is in a major or minor
key, which gives it a texture unusual to the other tracks.
For those who did not like the style of Parachutes, this album will not awaken a newfound love for Coldplay. However, those who appreciate the lyrical meandering and soulful artistry of the music, the album will be one to play again and again. Jessica Chapman
give up on me
|Burke, who was inducted into the Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame last year, takes Van Morrison's "Fast Train"
and "Only a Dream" and turns them into what can bet be escribed
as modern gospel blues classics. With Tom Waits' "Diamond in your
mind," Burke celebrates the optimism of years gone by as only an
old optimist can. The rendition of Bob Dylan's "Stepchild"
features Dylan collaborator/producer Daniel Lanois on fuzz guitar in
helping create some surreally satiating Chicago blues. "The judgement,"
an Elvis Costello song about stark desperate love, has Burke wringing
the pain out of his voice.
The provocotive "None of us are free" stands out with its vigorous, righteous call for accountability to the masses: "None of us are free/None of us are free/if one of us is chained/then none of us are free." Burke was crowned "The Wonderboy Preacher" at age 7, when he started giving sermons to his church and later on WDAS radio in Philadelphia. Known these days as The Bishop, Burke's ability to engage through emotive phrases persists strong and enduring. Lance Jungmeyer
Tori Amos - Epic
Scarlet’s Walk brings
Tori Amos back to the unmistakable edge of her early works, far surpassing
the musical experimentation of her last album, Strange Little
Girls, which was composed of only cover songs by artists such
as Eminem, Neil Young and The Beatles.
| Perhaps the most breathless track is the recently released
single “A Sorta Fairytale,” a brilliantly woven and eerily
soothing ballad. A few of the tracks, such as “gold dust”
and “mrs. jesus” are strikingly orchestrated, complementing
the elegance of Amos’ piano accompaniment.
Another plus is the enhanced feature of the disk, giving fans a key which unlocks the interactive website from Amos’ homepage. Scarlet’s Web offers information about the making and journey of Scarlet’s Walk, including photos, movies and an unreleased song. Jessica Chapman
Position of Neutral
Trust Co. - Geffen
Rock is often a heavy-handed medium.
Bands tell listeners what they have to say by screaming, belting out
lyrics and tunes in the most direct way at the highest decibel. But
if Trust Co. is going to make a mark on the music world, the Alabama-based
foursome will do it in a different manner.
|Indeed, The Lonely Position of Neutral makes
a solid attempt to break away from the Linkin Park pattern, with relevant
lyrics sometimes delicately conveyed and searching for place, love,
trust or whatever — juxtaposed by the all-too-familiar crunchy/melodic
guitars that have taken over, as if by siege, the soul of modern rock.
The band does a waltz around popular music, taking a step foreword here, backward there, mixing the radio friendly sound of pop metal with the often-underplayed theory that, sometimes, it is all right to whisper an imporant bit of lyrical message that the listener can hear as well the nu-metal archetypal scream. This hint of emo flavoring gives the band something more to work with in the future. While The Lonely Position of Neutral is not a remarkable album, any divergence from the norm could certainly indicate a reason for the listener's trust the next time around. Ron Knox
Duke Robillard - Stony Plain Records
Duke is back after lying low for awhile. And with Living with the Blues, Robillard reaches out to some blues mentors in coming back home. The album's title is from a Brownie McGhee classic, and Robillard adds tunes from Little Milton, Bobby Bland and Freddy King among others, plus a few originals.
|Some real kickers are worth noting. The King tune, "Use
What You Got," has been a staple of Robillard's for years. The
lyrics brush aside that male or female preoccupation with size, getting
to what is real: "Some like 'em short/some like 'em tall/but
when it comes to lovin', baby/size doesn't matter at all."
Robillard heats up the CD player with "Stratisfied," a nearly 9-minute scorcher with drummer Mark Teixeira pacing Robillard, generating enough energy to light KC, including the suburbs. A Robillard original, "Buy Me a Dog," pays homage to Lucy Mae, his loyal dashound, while revealing Doug James' tasty background harp. A Roomful Of Blues tune, "Sleepin' On It," and Willie Dixon's classic "I Live The Life I Love," showcase Bruce Katz on piano. Robillard and his band deliver some jump blues at its best. Bruce Rodgers
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