CD: Steve Earle, The Revolution Starts Now

(Artemis/Rykodisc)

In a country where you're liable to get lynched if you're suspected of being "unpatriotic", Steve Earle commands respect for standing up and sticking to his leftwing guns, but The Revolution is little more than a crude exercise in Bush-bashing timed for the upcoming US elections. The sleeve note informs us that "American democracy requires constant vigilance to survive and nothing short of total engagement to flourish". No doubt, but that doesn't necessarily make for great songwriting, and there are some real turkeys here. Rich Man's War peddles the line that soldiers are innocent because rich people made them do it, while in Warrior, Earle recites grating mock-Shakespearean poesy about war and politics. Condi, Condi is a calypso, in which Earle makes "ironic" romantic overtures to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, though the effort is rendered grotesque by Earle's growling, cheerless vocal. His message is clear, but its execution is fatally flawed.

Contributor

Adam Sweeting

The GuardianTramp

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