True False Identity [DualDisc]

True False Identity [DualDisc]

by T Bone Burnett
     
 

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Since T Bone Burnett hasn't made an album of his own original music since 1992, filling the time with such side projects -- so to speak -- as the multi-platinum soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it's not surprising that he would return with a vengeance. Even so, the power that leaps from the grooves of TheSee more details below

Overview

Since T Bone Burnett hasn't made an album of his own original music since 1992, filling the time with such side projects -- so to speak -- as the multi-platinum soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it's not surprising that he would return with a vengeance. Even so, the power that leaps from the grooves of The True False Identity is something to be reckoned with. The intensity is unmistakable from the opening notes of "Zombieland," on which Burnett manages to render reggae's usually plangent rhythms into a tense foundation for a tale of cultural disconnection. That's a running theme throughout the disc, one that Burnett drives home in various ways -- most intriguingly, the brusquely clipped spoken-word delivery of songs like "Palestine, Texas," which ends with him intoning, in mantra-like fashion, the belief that "this version of the world will not be here for long / it is already gone." Burnett also ramps up the passion in purely musical ways, lacing songs like "Blinded by the Darkness" -- which contrasts his own version of Christianity with the markedly less tolerant strain proffered by right-wing fundamentalists -- with stinging, angular guitar work, both his own and that of Marc Ribot. The ardor is there even when topics turn to matters of the heart, as evidenced by the slow-burning blues "Seven Times Hotter than Fire," a song of perseverance that stalks stealthily before exploding in a cascade of gnarled sound. Burnett never descends into purposeful ugliness, however, and as such The True False Identity resounds with positivity; it's a clarion call, not a scream in the darkness.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
As a musician and songwriter, T-Bone Burnett often manages the canny feat of seeming direct and elusive at the same time; there's an emotional power and clarity in his best music that's bracing, passionate, and scrupulously honest, but he's also capable of using his artifice to throw his messages into several directions at once, and it's sometimes difficult to tell just what his intended target was supposed to be (which is part of what makes his work fascinating in the first place). Usually, this gift works in Burnett's favor, but his aim seems less precise on The True False Identity than it has in the past; this is his first album since The Criminal Under My Own Hat in 1992. Since he last cut an album as a frontman, Burnett's star has risen considerably as a producer, having coordinated the multi-platinum soundtrack albums for O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Walk the Line, as well as breakthrough projects for Counting Crows and the Wallflowers, and Burnett's estimable skills in the studio are the best thing about The True False Identity. Three drummers are credited in the liner notes (Carla Azar, Jay Bellerose, and Jim Keltner), and it often seems as if all three are playing at once as a precisely arranged clatter runs throughout these 12 songs, with Dennis Crouch's double bass keeping the rhythms locked in and Marc Ribot's superb guitar work carrying the brunt of the melody and conjuring the aural atmosphere (enough so that he could probably demand co-star billing if he were of a mind). Musically, The True False Identity is fascinating and challenging stuff, but Burnett's songwriting is decidedly below par here; the album is full of the sort of clever wordplay one would expect from Burnett, but a number of the songs here cover themes he' written about more effectively in the past (especially "Blinded by the Darkness" and "Hollywood Mecca of the Movies"), and while the themes may remain relevant, that doesn't make these salvos hit their target any more cleanly. Too much of Burnett's writing here sounds like a slogan rather than carefully thought out verse, and while they're often great slogans -- "If sin were dealt with by the laws of man, everybody would be in jail," "Cowboy with no cattle, warrior with no war/They don't make imposters like John Wayne anymore," "When you're out for revenge, dig two graves" -- the result is a bunch of excellent moments that don't add up to a satisfying whole. From nearly anyone else, The True False Identity would be a striking and adventurous work, but given Burnett's body of work, there's no arguing he can do better, especially after a 14-year layoff, and this is a genuine disappointment from an artist of this caliber. The True False Identity was originally released in two formats: as a standard audio CD, and in the DualDisc format, with conventional CD audio on one side and an audio-visual DVD on the other. The DVD side features the entire album in uncompressed PCM audio and an 18-minute film called Vidiosyncrasy, in which Burnett performs several spoken word pieces and delivers solo versions of three songs (one of which, "An Acquired Past," does not appear on the album). While Burnett's performances are expert and the songs work well in these simple guitar/voice arrangements, he doesn't seem to be emotionally invested in the songs, and his spoken word bits only reinforce the flaws of the album's problematic songs. In short, the DualDisc release doesn't add much value to an album that was already significantly flawed.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2006
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0828768152324
catalogNumber:
81523

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Zombieland
  2. Palestine Texas
  3. Seven Times Hotter Than Fire
  4. There Would Be Hell to Pay
  5. Every Time I Feel the Shift
  6. I'm Going on a Long Journey Never to Return
  7. Hollywood Mecca of the Movies
  8. Fear Country
  9. Baby Don't You Say You Love Me
  10. Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)
  11. Blinded by the Darkness
  12. Shaken Rattled and Rolled

Disc 2

  1. Zombieland
  2. Palestine Texas
  3. Seven Times Hotter Than Fire
  4. There Would Be Hell to Pay
  5. Every Time I Feel the Shift
  6. I'm Going on a Long Journey Never to Return
  7. Hollywood Mecca of the Movies
  8. Fear Country
  9. Baby Don't You Say You Love Me
  10. Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)
  11. Blinded by the Darkness
  12. Shaken Rattled and Rolled
  13. Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)
  14. Shaken Rattled and Rolled
  15. An Acquired Past

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

T Bone Burnett   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,6-string bass
Marc Ribot   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Buzz Clifford   Background Vocals
Jim Keltner   Drums
Carla Azar   Drums
Keith Ciancia   Piano,Keyboards
Dennis Crouch   Upright Bass
Bill Maxwell   Drums
Danny Moore   Background Vocals
Sam Phillips   Background Vocals
Jay Bellerose   Drums
Reese Clifford   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Marc Ribot   Composer
Bob Neuwirth   Composer
Donnie Fritts   Composer
T Bone Burnett   Composer,Producer
Mary Maurer   Art Direction
Mike Piersante   Engineer
Jesse Dylan   Director

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