“Now isn’t this interesting”, these are the first words that come to my mind within moments of the opening track Say Goodbye to America on the pop/punk and folk inspired album Love, Lust, and Genocide by the talented and impressive, New York musician Samuel Claiborne. These might seem like a basic and lackluster set of words to show my appreciation for the catchy and dark sound of Mr. Claiborne’s design; but there is nothing at all lackluster about my approval for this sort of musicianship.
I am a lyric listener, so to me content matters, and this album has many serious and potent lines aimed to make both the socially conscious, and the socially unaware, stop and think about some serious topics. It effectively moves from one doom and gloom track to another without missing a beat, but by no means is this an album meant to be a soundtrack for the apocalypse, as there is also a lot of interest in wanting some positive changes to help heal this sad state of affairs that we have, in many ways, put ourselves willingly in.
The album itself is broken up by a tip of the hat cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. I will most likely always fault bands that throw in a cover song to add to the amount of tracks on an album, as said song already had its place on another album. That being said, this is a truly great cover, and as a diehard fan and lifer of Nine Inch Nails, I almost wanted to dislike this; but Samuel nailed it! I am sure the NIN camp would appreciate that their baby was handled with care.
Seeing Broken as the track that followed Hurt I was instantly bracing myself for the unforgivable mistake of covering two tracks from the same band on one album, however this creative and emotionally driven song is a copy of nothing I know of. The drums are quiet and softly played, while the guitar evenly compliments the haunting vocals of my personal album favorite. The song ends with the lyrics “God I am Broken. Please take me. God I am broken. Release me.” and it is nothing short of a beautiful work of intimate art.
I dislike spoken word poetry in almost all forms, so the song 21st Century War was lost on me within seconds of its opening. Granted there is some heavy and thought provoking words here, which I usually require in my music, but this song is nothing short of a test of my patience, and the bizarre path this song asked me to walk was too much to deal with, and since I couldn’t make it to the end of the track, I cannot speak a word more on it.
With only two songs left on the album I was hoping for a better recover from that last song, but what I got was a bit more spoken word-ish type tracks, which is not a fault of the bands so much as my inability to deal with poetry in general. If you are one of the many that enjoy a dramatic verse given to you without singing, then I am sure you will enjoy what Samuel offers here.
The album Love, Lust and Genocide is packed with emotion and great song writing. The music rarely oversteps its own boundaries and it is truly aware of itself by the honesty in all the lyrics. If you are a fan of music with depth and raw human emotion, then you should give this album a spin, as it would be a shame to overlook it.