Pleasures can be hard to find in your everyday life, however, I never thought the most pleasure I would get out of my ordinary day would come from two fairly ugly computer speakers playing the smooth and hypnotic sounds of Thievery Corporation's new album "The Richest Man in Babylon".
The title of the album "The Richest Man in Babylon" is a little bit of ironic mockery, due to the fact it shares the same title as a personal finance book written in the 1920s on how to become fabulously wealthy. However, this album conveys the message that wealth is gained through the exploitation of others. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton originate from Washington DC, which kind of explains their strongly opinionated and politically laced album for 2002. It's crazy what's going on in our precious de-humanized world; suicide bombings, possible chemical warfare, civilians dying amid the soldiers and we pretend to be well informed mostly because its on almost every major television channel, every bloody minute 25 hours a day. What's really extraordinary is this one album can slap a huge imaginary "No War" flasher in the minds of most in tuned listeners. Even the song titles and their clever arrangement show an unraveling journey toward an ultimate destination. Thievery's final song on this album reveals what everyone seems to crave in life and that's "resolution".
It doesn't amaze me that Garza and Hilton would have used their super powers of mixing mastery for good and not for evil by creating such a refined album that fuses the beautiful and distinctive sounds of Brazilian, Cuban, Jamaican and Middle Eastern cultures. The unforgettable whispers of Icelandic Emiliana Torrini opens this album with a few hypnotic bars in "Heaven's Going To Burn Your Eyes", but it is her exquisite and
sultry voice that performs the last vocals in the delicately sweet track "Until the Morning".
Followed with smooth vocals such as Carl Aiken aka Shinehead with his sexy Jamaican accent only brings the lyrics new meaning and oh that thing called soul in "The State of the Nation". Whereas "Meu Destino" and "Exilio" creates a soft relaxing Latino atmosphere with acoustic guitar played by Ramon Gonzales accompanied with male vocals performed by Patrick De Santos and Verny Varela. Pam Bricker and Lou Lou also return to this album and so does their incredibly sexy and earthy voices on this album, picking up the same tones as "Lebanese blonde" and "Shadows Of Ourselves" from Thievery's last album "The Mirror Conspiracy". My favorites among this album would definitely have to go to the new upbeat jazzy/funk tempo of "Liberation Front" with its' sensational horn piece by Rick Harris and that pure energy which "The State of The Nation" creates with its' powerful lyrics and head bopping beat.
I believe "good" music is the kind that makes you feel emotion and the "best" kind creates ideas that mingles along with them. This album does just that by leaving you feeling a little bit more cultured as you escape into their soothing style of endless melodies and soulful breakbeats.
Thievery Corporation has raised the bar with this polished intricate album, overflowing with vivid emotions and raw talent. They have truly paved a new path for "Electronica/Trip Hop" music with their tasteful and developed signature sound. Thievery Corporations definitely has something to say through their music and we might be lucky enough to listen and find out what that is.