as i mentioned on my email last week, it appears that esthero is back with a vengeance. when i worked at sony back in 1998, a friend on my hall handed me a copy of a the first esthero album and suggested that i check it out.
we were all sorting through hundreds of promo cds (most of which no one had ever heard and many of which no one was ever going to hear of) and our bar for excellence was continually lowering. not surprisingly, our recommendations didn’t carry that much urgency at that point. luckily (for me), the pictures on the back of the album caught my attention and i put it on. it blew me away. the moods ranged from sunny afternoons to desperate 4 a.m. murder scenes and her voice is totally unique and exquisite. “superheroes” and “swallow me” are posted here (for now) so check them out.
last year the song “O.G. Bitch” appeared on a Giant Step compilation. although a great track, i was a little disappointed because, having not heard anything from her for 6 years, my expectations were high and “O.G. Bitch” is basically a diss record against Res who Doc (the producer of her first album) produced after her. in some ways, i was more worried that she wasn’t going to come back strong AFTER hearing the song.
well, she has now assuaged my fears. while looking for a link to use for her last week, I came across “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution.” The full song is posted on her site, here.
the song starts acapella:
“i’m so sick and tired of the shit on the radio and mtv, they always play the same thing now matter where i go, i see ashanti in the video, i want something more.”
then this lovely, 80′s retro, echoey-snare-drum, anthem-on-purpose beat drops.
the lyrics are posted in varying degrees of readability on the same page as the song. but i will include a few. the lovely thing about the lyrics is that they are so plain spoken that my friend cliff was wondering if she ever physically wrote them down or the song was more of a stream-of-consciousness thing, where she just got in the booth and sang what was on her mind.
she calls britney and ashanti out by name throughout the song but the real complaint is against the people doing the programming and not the individual artists. the strongest condemnation comes without a name (although it doesn’t really need one). the last line of the song is:
tell me why….a grown man can rape a little girl but we still hear his shit on the radio // a grown-ass man can videotape a little girl but we still see his mug up on our video screens
the lyric i love the most is:
calling all creators in the movement // it’s time to offer a solution to the dilution of what we love // and the greats would be so disappointed // ’cause we’ve sold our souls for what we don’t own anymore // we are in need of…let’s have a musical revolution // we’re so tired of the the same old way // we are in need of…spiritual evolution
at that moment, for me, she changes from being a woman (“rightfully”) complaining in a room somewhere to someone who is declaring a movement out of the thousands of independent artists that are mostly working in small groups or in isolation.
the song is good enough to be one of those songs that ironically gets mainstream popularity while actively criticizing the mainstream but the following text from her “news” pages makes me wonder if that is going to happen:
December 7, 2004
1500 copies of “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution” made it to store shelves in Canada today! HMV seems to be the best bet for picking one up, but as news spreads they’re selling out.
Most copies of the EP were recalled due to a packaging error. The next batch will hit stores on January 11, 2005.
1500 copies…in canada only? recalled? someone’s gotta make some moves in her camp!!