Thursday, March 4, 2010

Song #84: Gil Scott-Heron - "Me and the Devil"

After a few Wiki run-throughs, I landed onto the fascinating story of Gil Scott-Heron and I'm so glad I did. I dowloaded his latest album - his thirteenth - entitled I'm New Here, and it's nothing short of sensational. It's a tale of blues, folk, spoken word, dubstep and ambience, as the sixty-something dude tells us all about his life growing up, his reflections on mortality and impermanence...and this track, a Robert Johnson reinterpretation.

What's interesting about this version of Johnson's Me and the Devil Blues is how drastically the track has changed. Johnson's original is rustic, traditional blues - Scott-Heron more or less takes the lyrics and puts them into the filthy, sinful slums of late-night American cities. Electronic bleeps, buzzing basslines and a shuffled beat accompany Scott-Heron's raspy, desperate vocal rendition of the pitch-black lyrics. It's the exact kind of song that's only very short in its length, but the kind you want to listen to over and over again. Truly sensational stuff.

FINAL RATING (/10): 9.5

I'm New Here is out now. Check out the video below:


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