|Preconceptions: I know of Saul Williams the slam poet. And spoken word stuff is not my loaf of bread. However, the idea of Saul Williams being produced by Trent Reznor was certainly intriguing.
After Listening: Twenty seconds in I was very apprehensive. I thought I would hate it. And while there were parts that I didn’t really like, overall I thought this album was pretty good. Saul had his moments,Trenthad his, sometimes they had moments together. Of all the albums that we’ve listened to that I had never heard before this one seems like it is a leading candidate to be listened to again. My favorite songs are the ones where his lyrics, the music, and an actual groove all come together. It doesn’t happen all that often. And I realize that he wants to be one of those “I have something profound to say” type poets, but that schtick wears me out. I don’t really like “artier than thou” as a mantra. And on this album at least, Saul holds all that in check pretty well, with a few obvious exceptions.
Favorites: The run of songs from “Break” to “WTF!” to me that’s the album’s sweet spot of actual songs, rather than other tracks that are more like NIN outtakes or poetry set to music.
Least: The last few songs where things slow down. I think he’s trying to be more “profound” here, but that doesn’t really work for me.
Overall: The album is hit and miss, though the hits don’t hit too hard and the misses aren’t all that low. There was a good run of songs, there were a few songs I didn’t like, my opinions of the album changed frequently throughout my listening. I did like his use of stereo effects, this is possibly the first album that we’ve done that had little noises in one ear and not the other. I was geared up to hate this, but it turns out it was much more like Fear of a Black Planet than it was like (what I assume) An American Prayer.
Alcohol: Red Wine. This album reminds me of the experience of going to the liquor store and going to the wine section. Picking a country that you like, looking for a label that appeals to you, and ponying up the 9 dollars and rolling the alcoholic dice. That experience can be pretty hit or miss, but usually you’re pretty pleased over all.