Saturday, May 28, 2011

How To Become Clairvoyant

Bear this in mind: Robbie Robertson is a musical genius. His latest album and first in over a decade is music beyond my wildest dreams. Forget the fact that he can't sing very well; he's not trying to serenade listeners with his husky voice; he sings with authentic feeling. How To Become Clairvoyant is just one hell of an album, and what an awesome title it is. Here he brings some famous friends along for the ride. Old buddy Eric Clapton sings and plays on most of the songs. He co-wrote two, Fear Of Falling (also featuring Steve Winwood on organ) and Won't Be Back, which not surprisingly fits nicely on some of his late career solo albums. He plays a splendid restrained acoustic solo on the instrumental Madame X, backed by a soundscape courtesy of Mr. Trent Reznor. The record's polished production helps to bring the more dark undertones of the music.

Meanwhile, Axman is a wonderful tribute to some of the underrated but influential legends of the guitar (such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Link Wray and Albert King), enlisting the help of Tom Morello. Robbie hasn't lost that uncanny ability to write songs with such ambiguity that everyone can personally relate to, like in the superb title track; that's real heavy stuff. He's a fine storyteller. The simple and soulful When The Night Was Young (with some cool female background vocals) is easily one of the best songs to come out this year, and could be interpreted as Robbie's experiences during the early days with the then Hawks. This is an album that takes its time, draws you in, makes you ponder long after you've listened. It's so good it's scary. It's an instant classic, with not a single weak track on it. If I could, I would recommend everyone to listen to it. Robbie Robertson's heart and soul is definitely in the right place. God bless him.