Most helpful critical review
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very mixed, if not disappointing
on 28 November 2004
As expected from everything I'd read (probably too much), the political lyrics of the album are well put and it's great to hear such direct comment being made. What I hadn't heard, of course, was the music. It's at that level that I feel the album is very mixed, if not disappointing. For such a great writer of melodies, this is far from his best album. The raw, grungy arrangements of the rockier songs are great, but too many of the melodies seem rehashed. The tune of Rich Man's War is very like I Don't Want to Lose You Yet from Transcendental Blues, F the CC is a heavier rerun of the Dire Straits style What's a Single Man to Do from Jerusalem, while The Seeker sounds like one of his older songs although I can't quite place it, and has a strong Springsteen feel to it (though nothing wrong with that). I found the melody of The Gringo's Tale flat and too repetitive (I'm sure I'll skip it in future plays) and why the gushy string backing, while as much as I wanted to like Condi, Condi it simply doesn't work musically. Maybe ironically for such a strong political album, I found the two love songs the best. I think the song with Emmylou Harris is great, as was the case on Jerusalem, and I Thought You Should Know has great biting love lyrics and a beautiful, aching melody. Still, if I was a DJ I would be playing the title track loud and often. I also think Warrior works well, perhaps surprisingly. The backing to the talk-over poetry is heavy, raw and just right.