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Pitchfork's HTDD review.
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Windom



Joined: 04 May 2007
Posts: 721
Location: Manchester, UK.
Pitchfork's HTDD review.  Reply with quote  

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/42667-human-the-death-dance


Quote:


Sage Francis
Human the Death Dance
[Epitaph; 2007]
Rating: 7.9

With 2005's A Healthy Distrust, Sage Francis ditched introspection, the meat and potatoes of his earlier work, for fire-breathing activism. And who could blame him? A president he didn't vote for had just won another four years-- missteps into lecturing could be forgiven. The old Francis, the quirky, quipping storyteller, triumphantly returns on Human the Death Dance, his second record on Epitaph, to his unique blend of diaristic, down-to-earth meditations, eerie soundscapes, and loopy abstraction.

Not that an herbivorous slam poet from Rhode Island, to put it frankly, would be expected to drop politics altogether. The personal is especially political on "Underground for Dummies", a biting, but never bitter, record of Francis's long tango with the music industry. And he's losing patience with the close-mindedness within his own art form: "This is hip-hop for the people/ Stop callin' it emo!" Francis sees nonsense everywhere. On "Midgets and Giants", he lampoons subcultural bullshit across the board, from the doe-eyed disciples of 8 Mile ("a promotional tool, shithead/But not for you, shithead") to the sexed-up and curiously alive Suicide Girls.

And the mission to broaden hip-hop's palette (and palate) presses on behind the curtain, where usual suspects-- Sixtoo, Alias, Reanimator-- switch off with other outer-rim stars. cLOUDEAD's Odd Nosdam blends ghostly atmospherics and Golden Age breakbeats on the opener, while composer Mark Isham lends a swank, silver-screen drama to "Good Fashion". Isham's tender union of piano, harp, and strings nearly steals the show on "Water Line", a spoken-word diatribe on not doing your job, and not just in New Orleans.

"Got Up This Morning" sways to Buck 65's high-tech confederacy of fiddles and harmonica, before Francis' female companion poses that timeless question: What would Bukowski do? Pendulums may swing and paradigms might shift, but you can always count on underground hip-hop for those endearingly nerdy, English-major moments. If you decode Jolie Holland's dreamy sighs on "Black Out on White Night", rumor has it you'll hear Dante.

As you circle deeper into the record, whispers of the old confessionalism get louder and louder. "Going Back to Rehab" weaves allusions to the greats, Nas and Biggie, into a six-minute tapestry that encompasses everything great about Sage Francis's strongest album to date: Its neon rainbow of tones and moods, the almost telepathic harmony between producer and rapper, the riveting fault-line tiptoe between memoir and manifesto.
-Roque Strew, May 11, 2007




Surprised it hasn't been mentioned here yet. Received a good write-up but not as in depth as I would expect. And I'm pretty sure pitchfork are one of the culprits behind the term "emo-rap" too.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:12 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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Yeah that's a pretty positive write-up considered they took a lot of potshots on the last review.

I laughed at Herbivorous Slam-Poet as a possible new label to categorize Sage in. I had this mental picture of a herd of Sage's grazing on some grass somewhere. Haaaaa.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:20 am
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zeem



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 3877
Location: elsewhere
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futuristxen wrote:
herd of Sage's grazing on some grass somewhere. Haaaaa.


haha, i had the exact same picture.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:29 am
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smake



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 677
Location: The Netherlands
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Thats what I always find very strange, when a reviewer on a site says:

"Sage Francis's strongest album to date"..... and then give it a lower grade (7.9) than AHD (8.0), Hope or some of the Sick Of...

That's just strange.

An another note, Dutch magazine "Oor", the most popular music magazine, called HTDD "a suprising small masterpiece". Review wasn't really that good (lots of talk about Anticon producers) and wasn't indepth, but they sure as hell liked it.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:45 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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I think as a rule right now on Pitchfork, any sort of hiphop is getting about an 6-8. Regardless of how good it is. It's pitchfork's way of saying "remember back when we thought hiphop was great? Well not so much anymore. NOW what's really good is this somber dance album full of tweets and whistles".

They're kind of chasing their own tails.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:50 am
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codebreaker



Joined: 13 May 2006
Posts: 217
Location: chicago
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Its not that pitchfork isnt the first site i go to for a thoughtful and comprehensive review of a new album I'm considering purchasing.

however, a lot of times they really dont make sense and their scores dont add up to what the writer intimates.

futuristxen, i completely agree
Post Fri May 11, 2007 7:54 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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I also believe that the writer does not score the album. The editor scores the album or something. Or the staff as a whole. I'm surprised we don't have anyone on this forum who works for Pitchfork honestly. All these years you'd think we'd have gotten one.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 8:15 am
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Mr 9999
Judge and Jury


Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 1292
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I have one gripe.
The reviewer mentions the Bukoswki reference and then pretends like Bukowski is highly regarded in nerdy english major circles. Bukowski is like Vietnam...the dude is just NOT taught in schools. In fact, an English Major was sitting next to me on a flight recently and she asked me what kind of authors I was into. She had never even heard of Bukowski. She graduates this year. Ahhh. Haha. I pointed her in the direction of "Post Office" and told her to walk into it with caution.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 9:41 am
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Jascha



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 3936
Location: Seoul, SK
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I guess we're generally too coherant to work at pitchfork?

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/10279-guest-list-david-cross-albums-to-listen-to-while-reading-overwrought-pitchfork-reviews
Post Fri May 11, 2007 9:50 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6278
Location: airstrip one
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They need a new font on their site. I can't even read that.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 9:51 am
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marshall84



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 2154
Location: KS
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Mr 9999 wrote:
I have one gripe.
The reviewer mentions the Bukoswki reference and then pretends like Bukowski is highly regarded in nerdy english major circles. Bukowski is like Vietnam...the dude is just NOT taught in schools. In fact, an English Major was sitting next to me on a flight recently and she asked me what kind of authors I was into. She had never even heard of Bukowski. She graduates this year. Ahhh. Haha. I pointed her in the direction of "Post Office" and told her to walk into it with caution.


Yeah. A friend of mine was in this poetry class and he asked his professor what he thought of Bukowski. He hadn't even heard of him. Bukowski is pretty low-brow as far as poetry goes.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 10:50 am
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R. Kamidees



Joined: 15 Sep 2003
Posts: 4830
Location: where the wild things are
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didn't Jehu work for Pitchfork? It was right there in his screen name.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 10:58 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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Mr 9999 wrote:
I have one gripe.
The reviewer mentions the Bukoswki reference and then pretends like Bukowski is highly regarded in nerdy english major circles. Bukowski is like Vietnam...the dude is just NOT taught in schools. In fact, an English Major was sitting next to me on a flight recently and she asked me what kind of authors I was into. She had never even heard of Bukowski. She graduates this year. Ahhh. Haha. I pointed her in the direction of "Post Office" and told her to walk into it with caution.


TRUE. He's not very highly regarded at all. I mentioned him to my english professor at school, and he was not a fan. He liked some of the poetry, but didn't think anything of his prose.

And he definitely wasn't taught. That was the only mention of him in the four years I was at school, and I got an English degree, so I took a pretty decent sample of the department.
Post Fri May 11, 2007 6:10 pm
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breakfast



Joined: 04 Oct 2006
Posts: 2893
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Happy about review, still boycotting.
Post Sat May 12, 2007 4:24 am
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The Shards



Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 139
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Okayplayer forums - the anti-Pitchfork - hating on Sage, hard:

http://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=5&topic_id=1211937&mesg_id=1211937&page=
Post Sat May 12, 2007 7:53 am
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