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Benjamin Zephaniah - Naked

  by Daniel Cressey

published: 9 / 2 / 2005

Benjamin Zephaniah - Naked
Label: One Little Indian
Format: CD


Debut album of music from radical poet Benjamin Zephaniah, which sadly falls " between musical genres and without any clear place to be or go"

This album from radical poet Benjamin Zephaniah falls in a strange position, between musical genres and without any clear place to be or go. Zephaniah’s anger and discontent still burn brightly – “I wanna catch gameshow hosts and put the bastards on trial,” he says on ‘Naked’. He boils over talking about the politicians he despises and the racism still experienced by black people in this supposedly liberal society. His humour is also intact however. On ‘Superstar’ he takes a wry look at modern celebrity and how “life’s hard for superstars – the road cannot contain our cars”. Zephaniah’s poetry has a huge bite. His humour is spot on and his scathing disdain razor sharp. The targets of Zephaniah’s scorn are well selected and nicely dissected. As music, however, it doesn’t totally hold together. The backing tracks for the poetry are strangely unsatisfying. While technically competent and generally in-sync with the spoken words there is a hint of irrelevance about them. Zephaniah’s declamations are quite strong enough to stand on their own. Slightly retro backing music underneath diminishes their impact rather than adding to their punch. 'Naked' doesn’t fit with any current musical genre, but nor is it strong enough to truly claim its own ground. This is a shame as Zephaniah has a lot to say and a nice way of saying it.

Track Listing:-
1 Slow Motion
2 Rong Radio
3 Uptown
4 Superstar
5 Slow Motion (Dub)
6 Slow Motion (Ambient)
7 Rong Radio (Dub)
8 Uptown (Instrumental)
9 Superstar (Dub)

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