Willie King & the Liberators
Living in a New World
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2002, Volume 9, #11
Written by John Metzger
After glancing through the song titles of Willie Kingís latest album Living in a New World, one quickly gets the impression that it is a concept album for a post-9/11 civilization. Living in a New World, America, You So Evil, You Got to Have Love, and Terrorized are just a few of the songs scattered throughout the disc, and indeed, Kingís politically-charged lyrics do address these strange new times.
Then again, Living in a New World isnít quite that simple. Throughout the disc, King also draws a correlation between todayís terrorism and the often brutal, but sometimes subtle, oppression of minorities in America. "You talk about terror/I been terrorized all my days," sings King on Terrorized, going on to recount the injustices heís faced from lack of a proper education to inadequate financial compensation for difficult, manual labor jobs. Itís a valid comparison, and one is left wondering why so few have made the point. Perhaps if Jesse Jackson spent a little less time focusing on fictional Hollywood movies and a little more time addressing reality, some progress on this issue might be made.
Despite the seriousness of the lyrics on Living in a New World, however, its music isnít all that somber. Sure, there are the smoldering blues tunes, such as the John Lee Hooker-inspired Terrorized or the Howliní Wolf ode You So Evil, but rather than lying in grim darkness, they broil almost jubilantly, dressed up in the classic rock clothing of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. And on occasion ó such as the title track, America, and All Tied Up ó King shifts gears into glorious R&B-tinged pop, reminiscent of Van Morrison. Itís here that salvation is reached through love as King backs up his songs of hope for a better tomorrow with music to match.
Living in a New World is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box