Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here (2010)

I was skeptical. I thought it would be impossible to feel any impression from this album at all. Minutes into my first listen I knew I had judged prematurely.

Its been 16 years since his last studio album. After spending much of the last decade behind bars and continually battling drug problems, it seems he decided it was time for a collection of redemption songs.

His distinct voice is weathered and raspy these days. This combined with Richard Russell's Post-Hip Hop / Post-Industrial beats, Folk / Blues guitar and delicate string arrangements results in a production that is as diverse as it is creative.

With his classic mixture of spoken word and singing, he covers a lot of ground. Oddly enough, there are times when he even reminds me of a very serious and intense Ken Nordine.

As far as the subject matter, we hear him paying homage to the women in his life that taught him how to be a man, reminiscing on a childhood in a broken home, regretting the sheer hardship of existence itself as well as attempting to instill genuine hope in the listener.

The staunchly militant aggression has faded away, leaving the core of a man who is merely reflective and still bent on helping his fellow man, woman and child.

Get It Here

Or: I'm New Here (Bonus Track Version) - Gil Scott-Heron

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