Humans of America: Sounds of the City, Town, and Country (3003)
Sounds is a vocal record with some unusual performers arrayed in dramatically different settings. And like music from throughout history, it adopts the idea of telling a story though sound: the listener gets to experience a sequence of events, portrayed using musical language. But the record only features voices. The outcome is cinematiclike a silent movie, in a way, but it's not silent and there's no movie. Most importantly, it's real close to home, so sit back.
Let's charge right into the story line, shall we? Just fill in the sonic aspect of the recording from the palette of your own personal experience, and this review can go full circle. Shall we?
Picture the sonic stories behind these tracks, which at times can run together.
One chapter starts off with the grand appearance of a real macho stud out for some fresh flesh, shouting his intent in no uncertain terms. He casts his head to and fro, getting more and more annoyed at what he's hearing all around him. Turns out there's a whole group of girls gathered on the spot, and they're laughing at him. Hee-hee, hee-hee, hee-hee.
End of chapter one. Chapter two features an annoying whiner who just won't shut up about his struggles, despite all the beautiful music in his life. We'll skip that part. Next is an interesting conversation between two very eager young people, calling each other's names at a great distance and exchanging remote sexual energy. Sheer poetry, as you might imagine.
Then we enter into the mafia kingdom. The Boss, who has his own little spot staked out and doesn't like anyone going there unless they bring a little something, sees a gift approaching. There's no reason to be quiet when you're the Boss, right? Sure, but you also have to consider the wife and children. Their main interest is to make sure he leaves a little something for them. It's Family, you understand, and there are times to remind old Papa of that fact.
And sure, once the whole Mob has done its thing and gone back to sleep, the lesser gangs descend upon the area. They make a lot of noise tooling around, claiming their own share of this crowded little world. The guy at the end has the last laugh, but was it worth it?
Okay, that was the storyline behind a few tracks on the real CD, which honestly is best appreciated without knowing the identities of the vocalists. If you come into it knowing who's who, that spoils the whole show. Better to hear each track on its own terms. Right? So don't look at the personnel listings. Figure it out for yourself.
Track Listing: 1. Big Stud; 2. Laughing girls; 3. Snoring with a cold; 4. Boys and girls; 5. We're doing fine; 6. Yeah, sure, we're doing fine too; 7. The Boss, his wife and children; 8. Scrappy winos; 9. Cleaning the windows; 10. Turn that TV down; 11. I'm a cool kid, too!; 12. Man, that one really hit the spot; 13. Farmer Ed, Remix.
Personnel: Big Stud, The Boss, and others.
Record Label: One Such
Style: Beyond Jazz