Saturday, August 13, 2011

25 albums. #24: A Singsong and a Scrap by Chumbawamba

I think it's a pretty common thing for people to experience some sort of "musical awakening" in college when they begin to listen to lots of protest-heavy folk music. Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, you know the drill. Some people have this experience in high school and they usually think they're better than everyone else.

Anywho, I mention all this because I did not have that same introduction to the realm of protest folk music. I had Chumbawamba's 2005 album, A Singsong and a Scrap.
Yes, the very same Chumbawamba that you're
thinking of. Let's please move on now.
During my sophomore year of college, I was beginning to listen to a lot of bands of the folk punk variety but Chumbawamba's A Singsong and a Scrap was my first real folk album. No singing out of key or songs that are only 80 seconds in length here. Singsong is 43 minutes of sweet and soft songs that pack a powerful punch. I had heard similar stuff to this when I first heard it, but it had never really sparked an interest in me until I listened to this album. Filled with flutes, whistles, cellos, pianos, even a few a capella tracks, this was all stuff I had heard before but never in a way that made me want to hear it over and over.

Lyrically the album has a very strong socio-political theme going on- something that Chumbawamba is known for. There are two covers (both a capella, the Clash's Bankrobber and  a rearrangement of the Italian song Bella Ciao). A lot of the lyrics are focused specifically on events that have occurred in Europe, specifically the UK (I wonder what the band thinks about the current riots), so while I can't necessarily relate to the specifics, it did show me a softer side to the revolution that speaks just as loud.

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