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Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 22
Location: pittsburgh, pa Review for HTDD  Reply with quote  

Unlike other genres, emcees are often hesitant to include printed lyrics in their liner notes. Sage Francis opted not to include lyrics in his either. He sent me an entirely separate lyric booklet. And the ink on the page proves he had good reason.

As one half of the group the Non-Prophets, Francis’ mic credentials include trophies from Boston’s Superbowl MC Battle and Cincinnati’s Scribble Jam, and an established reputation at poetry slams. It’s hard to pigeonhole a guy that name checks Jay-Z and Charles Bukowski on the same record, and this diversity of influences help many of his lyrics to contain as much weight on the page as they do on record. In “Black Out On A White Night,” Francis grapples with commitment half an ocean away from his lover:

“Like Superman doesn’t need a roof over his head/

When I come home to roost I’ll need truth to hold in bed/

But I’m seeking salvation in a booth…and the phones are dead”

I assume Human The Death Dance was Sage Francis’ catharsis because each song reads like the desperate scribbles of a broken man. But only rarely do lines slip beyond the listeners ability to relate, making Francis an odd musical poet who falls somewhere between Nas’ conversational wordplay, Springsteen’s poetic narrative, and Tori Amos’ bare-all confessions.

This is the kind of record that, performed live, could instantly hush a crowded bar down to an attentive trance. The cinematic production, and Francis’ cadence both tend to reflect the frustrations and paranoia of his lyrics, but stripped of the underpinning music several of these songs could easily stand on words alone. His machinegun use of metaphor and sly allusions to the likes of Chuck D and Bob Dylan require an attentive ear, and demand repeated listening. And it is this depth that recommends the album, even if the lyrical manipulations require significant effort from the listener.

- Brian Hull
Post Sat May 12, 2007 3:10 pm
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Joined: 25 Aug 2002
Posts: 9309
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short but actually pretty good. it was a nice review.
Post Sat May 12, 2007 3:39 pm
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Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 61
Location: New Brunswick to Vancouver
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Very nice, not the usual line qouted in reviews either, very nice.
Post Sat May 12, 2007 4:08 pm
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