06 October 2009

Ian Brown: "My Way"

SDM is swamped with work, but we are going to keep this blog going – enjoy!

Iconic, former front man of The Stone Roses, Ian Brown, continues on to release fresh and relevant music with his sixth solo album, “My Way.” Although fans of the Stone Roses may want more of the old sound, Ian Brown, the solo artist, is now doing things much differently with a little more contemporary twist in sound and noise. The album is said to be inspired by Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” and it marks one of Brown’s most eclectic and distinguishing albums.

This album was highly anticipated and the pressure was on to produce one of the, if not the “greatest” album to date. I am not sure if this expectation is fair or welcoming to Brown, but “My Way” deserves a great amount of credit. Although it is very different from his past works, the album does not, in any way, disappoint. There is no obvious sound to the album and there is a very unique approach to how mood is achieved on the individual tracks, yet the transitioning works so very well creating fluidity throughout the album and an alluring listen. The tempo is generally upbeat, catchy, and almost mesmerizing.

The album contains one cover, “In The Year 2525,” originally sung by Zager and Evans, which includes a more modern and relevant approach towards the tempo in a song that was originally composed in the late 1960’s. Although he did not change the song up to the point where it is unrecognizable, it shows that he was trying to pay homage to this track. The album starts off with “Stellify,” now released as a single, which provides for a great opening introduction for two reasons: it is extremely catchy (both lyrically and instrumentally) and it amplifies one of the most generic emotions: love. “Stellify” starts off with the lines “When you are stellified, could be the last chance I have to sanctify. So save the last dance for me my love cause I, I see you as an angel freshly fallen from the sky” and instantly you are lost in Brown’s poetic world. Paired up with the heart-thumping rhythm, it makes for an extremely catchy single. Generally, not many individuals pay any mind to lyrics in a single, so the simpler the song is, the greater the chance of the single and album catching on more popularity.

Rhythmically, the album is very diverse, and lyrically each song has a personality of its own and while some tracks are deep and compelling to a specific, others are broad and open-ended yet poetic. While some tracks require bum-shaking, some are better off enjoyed in the comfort of a home or somewhere cozy. For me, one of the most alluring aspects of the album is that it does not blend well into the current indie trends so nicely; included here are elements of trip-hop and synthesized sound and all bag of tricks executed to perfection.

Although Ian Brown may be known as an icon and the father figure of Madchester scene, he is surprisingly still relevant – this is a veteran who knows how to get the job done! The synthetic noises, upbeat tempo, and toe-tapping beats are enough to reel a listener in, but on closer listens, the album has the artistic integrity and depth of an artist of Brown’s fame.

Track Listing:
1. Stellify
2. Crowning Of The Poor
3. Just Like You
4. In The Year 2525
5. Always Remember Me
6. Vanity Kills
7. For The Glory
8. Marathon Man
9. Own Brain
10. Laugh Now
11. By All Means Necessary
12. So High

Keep up with Ian Brown at his homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

Here is his video for “Stellify” from the polydor YouTube Channel.

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