Saul Williams - Saul Williams - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Saul Williams - Saul Williams

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2004-09-21

Saul Williams is angry, no doubt about it. His previous album Amethyst Rock Star was feted for its brilliance; it was a fine extension of his day job as a poet. This self-titled follow-up is just as good, if not better. This is more rock-based, but certainly no less powerful- a new route to create an aural chronicle of everything that's wrong with 21st Century urban America.

Kicking off with the minor-key "Talk to Strangers" (complete with Serj Tankian on piano and backing vocal); the album proves to be uneasy listening both musically and lyrically. The startling blend of grimy, paranoid beats and industrial guitars is reminiscent of Tricky, and just as startling. However, the focus is always on Williams' restless observations on urban strife- the backing is merely an appropriately apocalyptic frame of reference. Even when Zach De La Rocha shows up for a guest vocal on "Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)", he's firmly put in the shadow by the hypnotic oratory on display. William's voice is certainly right for the job, and even casual listeners will find themselves hooked. Either as admirably intelligent musical poetry, or simply as a state of the nation address, this is essential listening. --Thom Allott

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