Tag Archives: Thievery Corporation

Day 216: Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation

2 Oct

The Numbers Game

Well, here’s some more of that trip-hop stuff.  Yup, some of it still sounds pretty cool.  My habitual preliminary research of this record (insert another Wikipedia joke) revealed that this album is pretty politically charged.  That ninja-looking dude on the cover is Subcomandante Marcos, a Zapatista who led a farmer uprising in Mexico 15 years ago or something.  Yeah, political albums usually bore me.  It’s usually a bad thing when artists get the idea that their opinions matter.  This can be seen across the board (with rock, at least).  Just ask American Idiot by Green Day or The Clash’s Sandinista.   This even applies to the lowly diy punk rockers—the ones who label themselves as “anarchists” and smash you over the head with their PC ideals.  Yes, artists are aloud to have opinions.  All I’m saying is that their music is not the best place to communicate them—as doing so takes the focus off of the music, which really should be the most important aspect of an album.

All of what I just wrote is fairly pointless, for I cannot figure out exactly how Radio Retaliation is “extremely politically charged”.  It got the “boring” aspect down pat, I’ll give it that, but for an album featuring a revolutionary on its cover and tagged as “political” all over last.fm, I’m not hearing too many radical ideals.  All I see are song titles…Blasting Through the City and Sound the Alarm can be viewed as somewhat political, but without the lyrics to back them up, they just kind of fall flat.  This is a trip-hop album, after all, so coherent lyrics are few and far between.  And when there are lyrics, they seem to me to be extremely vague, like the band itself isn’t too sure what it’s rallying against.

There’s something keeping me from liking this record, and it’s got nothing to do with the supposed politics behind it.  I love Sound the Alarm and Mandala, two exciting tracks with fast tempos, for a couple of reasons:  they’re exciting and fast.  I couldn’t find too much to love outside of those two songs though.  Everything else goes on for a couple of minutes too long.  But who knows?  Had this record not been branded as “political,” my blood would not have begun boiling before I pressed play, and I may have been in the relaxed state required to enjoy a piece like this.