Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sage Francis- Li(f)e

Xtian Zzyzx, the infamous metal head has quite frankly gotten over being angry, and has also gotten over talking about himself in the third person. I am not as angry as I was a couple months ago, so I don't listen to metal as much as I used to. And because I don't listen to metal as much as I used to, a whole music genre is kinda gone! So I've been exploring new genres. And one of them is Rap.

I was introduced initially to only two rappers, and one of them was Sage Francis. Now I was so surprised when I heard Sage at first, he just seemed so different and I couldn't place why. But them I figured it out! He isn't talking about all the bitches and brands he got up in his crib! Or his mic skills. He talks about the kinda things that a rock band would talk about and this is one of the the things that has always kept me away from rap. It is RAP, Rhythm And Poetry and so, no matter how good the Rhythm part of the song is, if the poetry sucks then I can't listen to it. And Sage Francis is primarily a poet, in fact he is actually a poet.

Track 1, Little Houdini was the first Sage Francis song I ever heard, a friend played it to me. I loved it, it was so beautiful. The song is about a man trying to escape from prison so that he could see his mother one last time on her death bed. This song moved me because I had never heard a rap song that had this much emotion and sadness in it. The only emotion I had ever heard in a rap song was anger, and quite frankly, I don't need any more anger in my life. And while sadness might suck, a sad song always makes me feel better afterwards. This song is beautifully written, the lyrics are moving and his flow is brilliant. What I was most surprised about was that this song is a true story! Christopher Gay really did escape from prison to see his mother on her death bed. And the fact that an artist chooses to immortalise such a person in a song is quite different, but quite inspiring.
The song starts out almost as a narrative, where Sage speaks his rhymes rather than rapping. But then there is a breakdown of sorts where he speeds up and starts rapping. I loved that part. That was what kept me interested in the song, because no matter how good the rhymes are, it's all about presentation.

And that's where Sage lacks quite alot. His lyrics are some of the best I've ever heard and for that I respect him immensely, but some of his songs are very underwhelming or kinda bad. And that is sad because his lyrics are always BRILLIANT.
For example, Track 3, I was Zero. It starts out really well with the line,
"If it wasn't for the bass, I wouldn't need these hearing aids.
If it wasn't for mistakes, I probably wouldn't be here today."
But then it kinda goes down hill when he starts going,
"When I came out my momma I was zero.
When I came out my momma I was zero.
When I came out my momma I was zero.
I was zero when I came out my momma, and now everybody knows."
Those lines, quite honestly ruin the song for me. This is my least favourite song on the album purely because of that part. But besides that part, the beat is good and so are the lyrics

One of the things I love about this album is the fact that, unlike normal Rappers, Sage Francis uses a live band! And you can really hear that on Track 2, Three Sheets to the Wind. This is my favourite song on the album! The flow in this song is the smoothest I have ever heard and the instrumentals are pretty sick. It starts out with this bass part and some of the craziest rhymes I've ever heard. If you listen to this song, have a copy of the lyrics infront of you, they are really brilliant and unlike most of his songs, the Chorus is really good. You really get the feeling that Sage is having alot of fun in this song.

Track 5, Diamonds and Pearls, is another case of the really crappy choruses that Sage Francis has in his songs,
"Surprising the world, with diamonds and pearls
But a song about a girl, ain't really about a girl"

That isn't a very good line... But after that the good lines come in! For example
"Got a two-way vanity mirror, I'm an amity villain
With a peeping tom complex"
Besides the chorus, I love the song!

I'm not quite sure what I think of the  chorus of Track 6, Polterzeitgeist, is... erm... Interesting. I can't say it's bad but I'm not sure if it's good? 
"Maybe he's the ghost, and maybe I'm the host
The polterzietgeist who knows the right price
To pay the priest to release me from these ropes."
It's good I guess, but what I really love about that song is the slide guitar in the beginning. It fits the mood of the song so well and the song is kinda where the song slows down and chills out and the slide fits this mood the album goes into so well too.

Finally Track 12, The Best of Times. This song is a brilliant representation of teenage life and I think it is a brilliant way to end this album. This song may not represent your childhood and teenage years precisely but at least some of it will. This song has the best lyrics on this album and I guess that is possibly because I can relate to this song more than most on the album. But everyone should be able to relate to this song somehow, young or old. So I guess this song is, in a way a representation of life in general.

I love this album, and no matter how closed minded or anti-rap some one is, everyone will certainly find at least ONE song they like on this album. If you are (like me) new to rap, then this is a great album to get you into the genre. If you are a rap aficionado of sorts, then this is a great album for you too!

Here's a link to Sage Francis- Li(f)e on

So tell me what you think of Sage Francis. You can leave a comment, you can e-mail me at you can Tweet me on @Xtianzzyzx You can ALSO leave a comment on the Plug in Your Head, Facebook page.

Please +1 my blog, and follow it. And if you think it's worth a mention, tell your friends. And don't forget that you can recommend me new music as well! I'll be sure to review it!

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!
Xtian Zzyzx 

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