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AnteBa77



Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 85
All Music Guide HTDD Review  Reply with quote  

It's unfortunate that the hype machine behind Sage Francis' second effort for the Epitaph label totally missed the breakthrough factor and decided to sell it as "his most personal record to date." Pound for pound, Human the Death Dance may be his most personal effort, but it's also an incredibly well-built full-length -- even when it borrows from a handful of genres -- and it's arguably his best lyrical effort, undoubtedly his best production-wise. While it's good news that the Sage Francis faithful are getting to peer into the man's head with this "personal" effort, Death Dance begins with a helpful crib sheet ("Underground for Dummies") that suggests newcomers are welcome here, too, and maybe even desired. When he delivers "You wanna promo copy buddy/You can download the tracks," it's not entirely clear whether he would have designed the world this way. He's cool with it, though, and declares "This is hip-hop for the people/Stop calling it emo," as if he's done with being pigeonholed, sick of being sold only to those "in the know." And really, why shouldn't he be? Any audience can appreciate the greatness of the organic blues beat producer Buck 65 lays on "Got Up This Morning." Sage's lyrics on the cut are equally smart and creative, with literary references thrown about in a flirty conversation between the protagonist and a sultry siren who just might be the Devil ("She asked 'What would Bukowski do?'/Don't go there!/He would make you his Mom"). Brilliant underground hip-hop producers Odd Nosdam ("Underground for Dummies") and Alias ("Keep Moving") both turn in great constructions, and composer/trumpeter/odd choice Mark Isham offers two elegant and sinister tracks ("Good Fashion" and "Waterline") that prove why he's the one who the film industry calls when they want slick 21st century noir. The truly personal numbers that close the album come after earning the listener's trust and patience, and the Isham/Francis connection comes from work for Hollywood, more signs that the man is ready to connect. In the end, the claim "his most personal record to date" becomes as important as "the one with the most black on the cover" or "the one with the most producers." What matters is that Death Dance works hard to immerse any listener in another world where angst, darkness, dark humor, ambition, the itch to create, and the hunger for all things creative demand attention. That this is the world in Sage's head is secondary.

AMG Track Picks: Underground for Dummies, Got Up This Morning, Waterline, Call Me Francois, and Going Back to Rehab

4/5 Stars


Last edited by AnteBa77 on Fri May 11, 2007 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri May 11, 2007 10:28 am
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Mr 9999
Judge and Jury


Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 1293
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Wow! Another reviewer where the person actually listened to the album. Must be a full moon tonight. Can't seem to squeeze that 5th star out of anyone but just wait until the party album comes out.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 10:38 am
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jehu



Joined: 25 Aug 2002
Posts: 9310
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VERY NICE REVIEW INDEED.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 11:33 am
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doubleplusgood



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 420
Location: Manchester, UK
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Mr 9999 wrote:
Wow! Another reviewer where the person actually listened to the album. Must be a full moon tonight. Can't seem to squeeze that 5th star out of anyone but just wait until the party album comes out.


...but on the plus side, I don't think I've seen anything less than 4, so it could be worse. Then again, it's not like I've gone looking for them, I guess because I have faith in the boy Francis
Post Sat May 12, 2007 10:10 am
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Euan



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 60
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I think most people who have heard Sage's album can agree that the review is accurate, and deservedly so.

Guys, I wouldn't get too caught up on the dishing out of scores, considering how innacurate they are. 4/5, in any case, is a "good score"...
Post Sat May 12, 2007 10:23 am
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doubleplusgood



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 420
Location: Manchester, UK
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Euan wrote:
I think most people who have heard Sage's album can agree that the review is accurate, and deservedly so.

Guys, I wouldn't get too caught up on the dishing out of scores, considering how innacurate they are. 4/5, in any case, is a "good score"...


That was kind of my point, that I stopped following what the mainstream music media told us was "good" a long time ago.

To each his own
Post Sat May 12, 2007 11:05 am
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