Back to New York Cityby Popa Chubby
Maybe you didn't think blues-rocker Popa Chubby was the type to offer poignant social commentary, but title track "Back to New York City" -- and arguably, most of this album -- is a rocking response to a full decade passing since the 9/11 attacks. Think of this as a semi-sequel to the 9/11 commentary "Somebody Let the Devil Out" from his 2002 album The Good, the Bad and the Chubby and this passionate yet scattered set of tunes begins to make sense as it takes George W. Bush's 2001 comment that America should "enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed" in an entirely more anti-establishment direction. After all, Chubby's decision to join Bush's optimist club comes after ten years of anger (Peace, Love and Respect, 2004) and rage (The Fight Is On, 2010) and it's delivered with a Leonard Cohen cover (the apocalyptic "The Future") and a straight rock (as in almost AC/DC) call to arms called "It's About You." These grand, well-written social statements seemed to dominate the other material before, but switching to more carnal pleasures ("She Made Me Beg for It") and clever guitar virtuoso material ("Jesus Joy of Man's Desire") is a much easier transition now as Chubby attacks all with equal desire. No matter what the topic, he sounds like a gigantic guitar machine coming down the mountain, or Stevie Ray Vaughan morphing into the Hulk, making Back to New York City a well-rounded effort with absolutely no sense of selling out.
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