Thursday, June 21, 2007

Strummer Global View: Guest writer 2

So for the second time in a week, I get a day off due to a Guest writer, Todays writer is a good friend of mine Matt. Matt has actually showed me a lot of bands through my time knowing him, now enough of stalling, here goes matt's review/essential album!

For everyone out there, there are at least a couple of musicians whose mere sound is nothing more then an emblem of relaxation. For some of you, the song that came to mind may have just taken you back to one of the finest memories you hold. It’s funny how a sound can do that, take you back to the exact moment and place you hold closest to the music. For this guy, there are several bands that do this as well. The weirdest part about it all is that there is no sound that restricts my opinion on the art; often, the memory that is associated with the sound wave is what makes the music what it is. It makes it your sound. Joe Strummer was a man who had a very long career in creating art. His art has become my sound through my experience with it. Global A Go-Go takes through several of my memories. The sound that has been created goes all over the place. It is a mix tape of sorts with the same men playing.

If you want to compare the sound of Global A Go-Go to something a little more familiar, well, let’s think: reggae, hip hop, DJing, punk rock, heavy rock, Gaelic vibes, rocksteady, pop rock, country twang…Look, the bottom line here is that there is so much going on and this simple fact makes the album a must hear. Needless to say, Strummer is all over the place with his second Mescaleros album. Released in 2001 via Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records, GAG-G (yeah, I’m lazy, what of it?) takes me all over the place. The first time I heard this album the entire way through, I was perched up in a desk that was overlooking a very quiet street in a small town called Perth. The flat was right near the railway tracks. There was no traffic, just calm. It was just the Strummer sound coming in direct from the speakers. The first four songs came and went without me noticing the songs change. The sixth song, “Mega Bottle Ride,” is what made me clue back into reality. Something about the twang on the track and the real folk feel grabbed my attention. The memories were beginning and I was falling in love; the music was becoming apart of me.
Having the first few songs fly by may make it seem like it wasn’t memorable. Listen to it over and over again, like I have, and you’ll see the beauty of it all. They play off each other and deliver a message to you. Interpret all of it yourself, but I’ll say that a lot of the words seem wise to me. The vibe and the lyrics make me feel something beyond what I see in the day-to-day. However, the love I have for this work does not come without its criticism. “Gamma Ray” comes and slows it down too much for this guy. The wisdom is still there but I do find myself skipping the song on some occasions. That is the type of song you need to be in the mood for, you know? That aside, the rest of GAG-G is great! The six times that I’ve re-listened to it while writing this has once again proven its greatness to me.

As any individually spirited person, Strummer carried himself from high school through his life. From the 101ers, through the only band that mattered and his individual efforts in its aftermath, Strummer came up with something remarkable. What is it that Global A Go-Go really does? Don’t let my words decide for you, I urge you to pick it up, or download it or go to your buddies and listen to it. Just hear it. I think the true sound of pleasure is here and it really does something special if you open your heart to it. Love it or not, Strummer’s fifty years was probably long enough for him. It was not long enough for those who still hold his wisdom in their hearts. Although, something that really sets us all free can never truly be laid to rest. We are free in music and memory.
-matt falconer, somewhere in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 2007

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