Corey Glover: Hymns

hymnsApparently Living Colour singer Corey Glover released a solo album in 1998. Who knew? Probably the fewer the better. Glover’s talents are obvious and he pulls off the varied stylistic tributes to what I will assume are his primary musical influences from black artists, but in the end you really just want to hear the influences themselves and/or more Living Colour.

An additional, and completely unnecessary, flaw of the album is the spoken word samples that lead off and close tracks. These additions invariably make the tracks less enjoyable while almost always knocking the song down a ranking. “Hymn #1017” is a maddeningly self-congratulatory monologue on the evils of modernity, primarily fluorescent lights. (Are you ready to rock?) And I think the intro to “Sermon,” is an example of parasitic preachers that the song is railing against, but it so opaque and hostile it ends up being a giant turn off in front of what is otherwise a fantastic song.

This album as a whole is unnecessary other than, I suppose, Glover’s own desires to branch out and explore other aspects of his musicality. But I don’t really need Glover’s take on the style of Prince, George Clinton, and Marvin Gaye…I’d rather just listen to those guys. But even those are pulled off sufficiently well that, in the right mood, I can enjoy the songs and Glover’s voice together. I want to like it at least three clowns worth based on that, but he keeps getting in his own way with frustrating interludes throughout the record and the album doesn’t cohere, because does he want to rock me or lick my pussy…can’t tell.

Rating:
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– “Do You First, Then Do Myself”
– “April Rain,” “Little Girl,” “Hot-Buttered Soul,” “Things Are Getting In The Way,” “One,” “Lowball Express,” “Silence”
– “Hymn #1017,” “Sidewalk Angel,” “Sermon,” “Only Time Will Tell”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Hymn #1017 – spoken word, seems to be intentionally distorted monologue like it can’t be dialed in on the radio, with incomprehensible background sounds. 62 seconds.
  2. Do You First, Then Do Myself – wow, the lyrics. I don’t think there’s any question this is the best song on the album. Also probably the closest to a Living Colour song. Also the only one where Glover doesn’t have any writing credit. Is this about oral sex or murder?
  3. April Rain – Very Prince here. Pretty good, but in no way great.
  4. Little Girl – The synth strings at the start here are awfully cheesy. And the lyrics are sophomoric. Still, it’s growing on me. First three-and-a-half minutes are full heart worthy, but then it’s another minute and a half that, while they’re good, it’s like, I got it man, you have to crawl before you can walk.
  5. Hot-Buttered Soul – starts off so very retro, but I can’t quite place it. Like Marvin Gaye? Or Bill Withers?
  6. Things Are Getting In The Way – So here he kinda tries to go James Brown/Little Richard.
  7. Sidewalk Angel – Funk groove. Kind of something George Clinton would do on one of his slower tracks. Hate the way this starts with the “Ladies and Gentleman, let’s give it up for the baaaaannd.” I don’t hate this, but he definitely doesn’t pull it off, and as the first song on side two, it’s really a miss.
  8. One – I think I kinda dig this one. i want this to be a full heart, but it starts with that ridiculous ambient noise and cackling, ruining what is otherwise a pretty awesome tune.
  9. Sermon – Back to a guitar-heavy rocker here. Yeah, I can hear Living Colour here again as he gets his rock voice on. Oh I hate that stupid sermon intro though. Yeah, I think I just like that chorus where you have the bass doing so much of the melody work. I hate that intro so much I want to make this broken. Yeah, even though I really like most of the song, I don’t like any part of it enough to justify keeping it  as open given the awful intro. I just don’t need to feel that bad.
  10. Lowball Express – wakka wakka guitar. bari sax? tuba? or just a synth/bass thing? anyway, this isn’t horrible. Super repetitive by the end, though.,
  11. Only Time Will Tell – a bit of a cheesy ballad here.
  12. Silence – meh. god this really strongly reminds me of something. something i know well. like billy vera i think. Stupid applause/banter ending
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