Sunday, April 10, 2016

Zombie - Fela and Afrika 70

So it's about that time where I need a review. And since I've been listening to the fellow over here, why not the big one. This is probably the best known album by Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He was a whole lot of other things too but he'll always (with some help from Tony Allen) be the inventor of Afro-Beat. Now this album is famous for both the title track and the events following. You can find almost anywhere, when looking up the song or album, Fela had some of the worst legal trouble following. Now legal trouble may imply he was in the wrong, but supposedly the Nigeria government burned his house down and killed his mother (pushing her out a window of some sort). They also ban him, I believe, from the country. I could be remembering wrong, but if you're interested look it up, it's almost always mentioned when someone talks about this album. Also I love this album cover, and the massage here is pretty great.
  1. Zombie: Sitting at just under 12 1/2 minutes long. This epic monster is one if those instant things that just clicks. I mean I've heard it a dozen or so times and I cant stop. It instantly makes you want to dance and go crazy. The is really like the epitome of infectious. I can't believe this isn't more sampled in hip-hop. I really would have to go into the details of the awesome little guitars and they great solos on saxophone (I assume it's tenor or alto since Fela plays both on the album). The first five minutes of this is instrumental, the words don't come in until 5:20ish. And when Fela comes in and starts singing with the group in Pidgin English..... so fucking awesome. I really want to join in the recording and make sing along. It's so fun, even thought there actually is a message to the song. It's about the zombie like mentality of the military and how they don't think and just follow orders. Like mindless zombies. But damn, I can't think of a more powerful song in terms of just arrangement and funk and message. I mean yes at first it's hard to make out what he might be saying but with the inevitable multiple listens you start to make it out. After the lyric section, there comes in an electric piano, or analog synth. This is followed by a chorus and then what I believe to the be french national anthem.... I could be wrong :) but I don't know. Just listen to this. It's fucking amazing.
  2. Mister Follow Follow: Following up that last track isnt an east task. This is much more laid back and doesn't have the punch of the last track. Obviously that makes sense, it'd be too much of the same, but I don't feel the feeling I get from other laid back tracks of his. I mean it's well arranged and tight, and has a great groove. I'm just not personally getting pulled into it and wanting to jam or dance along. Where the last track builds and you are interested the entire wait up to the lyrics, this isn't holding my interest as much. I have to pay attention or I'll lose focus I guess. And by the way that happened not even five minutes in. The song is much more background music than the predecessor. And I'm not feeling the vocal arrangement on this track. There is a part later in the song where it sounds like a slowed down version of Zombie where it goes Follow Follow. Not feeling it at all bru.
Overall I have to give this album a 7.5/10. The thing I gotta say, is the first side is so strong how could you not want to dance and groove. But its also so good there was no way in hell the second side would come close to it. I still highly recommend this record. I also recommend Open & Close, Expensive Shit, Ikoyi Blindness and Black Men Dey Suffer. I've yet to hear all of the albums, but I got a big chunk down. It's a great opener and the second track ain't terrible. Just listen to this, its 25 minutes long. 

No comments:

Post a Comment