New Sacred Cow
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
buy it: here
Tracks from this album have been floating
around for two years, during which time everyone I know who heard
them said "Damn that stuff is great, when's it coming out?"
and nobody knew, so everyone just kinda said "Oh well"
and stopped thinking about it. Well, the record's out now and
it's just damned fine and perfect techno/prog/new-wave/hip-hop/pop
and I love it a bunch but probably for the wrong reasons.
#1: The production is the best you're going to hear all year.
Chad Hugo (you know, the other guy in the Neptunes) made
this record sound so creamy and creepy and buzzy and squally and
floaty that you won't believe it even when you're hearing it,
and especially when it's all on the same song like on
"Vexed and Glorious" or "Man Fading." Hugo
manages to create a unified whole out of songs that sound like
the Cars ("Freetime") and songs that sound like Prince
("I'm Gone") and songs that sound like nothing I can
think of ("Red Man," "Siren"). Just sickeningly
luscious, but with an edge. He's Trevor Horn with street smarts,
Reason #2: Kenna is a very effective singer.
I like his voice, especially because it's NOT some big overtutored
weapon but rather just the way he communicates his feelings. He
sings "Let's start a revolution / A true revolution"
(on "Man Fading") in a way that combines the burning
fervor of a young man in the city for the first time and that
guy's fear and tension; plus, it's sexy as hell. And, as hip as
he sounds on the uptempo stuff, nothing can prepare you for the
full-on emotional onslaught of the very Seal-like "War in
Me." He even uses some of his Ethiopian background in the
lovely "Yeneh Ababa (Rose)," but only when he needs
to, in the wordless bridge to the chorus. Putting a singer this
good up with music that's this tight…someone oughta win
an award for this.
I should dock more than just a half-star
for the lyrics here, which often eat it in a large way, but I'll
leave it right there. Dude lost me on "Freetime" with
"I need some me time / I need to run away run away run away
/ Get away", which is just crap on a stick poetically speaking.
But then he'll pull off some great stuff about all the space between
Pluto and God, or about whatever the hell he's talking about on
"Hell Bent" which I really don't care about because
the reggaefied beat is SO DOPE and Kenna's voice is SO REAL and
it's all too beautiful.
I hope whoever's idea it was to keep this
one on the shelf for two years is thrown to slavering lemurs.
Unless of course it's Hugo or Kenna, in which case they've made
one of the great albums you will hear this year.
liked New Sacred Cow...
1. Within Earshot
3. Man Fading
4. Sunday After You
5. Vexed And Glorious
6. A Better Control
7. Red Man
8. Hell Bent
9. Yenek Ababa
10. War In Me
11. New Sacred Cow
12. I'm Gone