Streets of Sin

Streets of Sin

by Joe Ely


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Streets of Sin is more than Joe Ely's finest album: It stands with some of the best topical albums ever made. And while it's not an overtly political record, it does tap into the temper of the times. Ely's songs limn an America in which no one is safe, no one is secure, most are on the run from something, and even the earth, ravaged by floods and droughts, is rebelling. His lyrics are astonishing in their precise evocation of the desperation driving his characters to the raw edge of sanity, even as they seek a salvation that apparently won't be forthcoming. The music matches the narratives, whether it's the roaring rock 'n' roll spitfire that blasts forth from "I'm Fightin' for My Life," the sinister, minimalist thumping framing a farmer's angry lament, "All That You Need" ("The ones who set the policy don't give a damn about our needs" is a pretty good tip-off as to where Ely stands on this issue), or the lilting, tender country and Tex-Mex strains of the touching love song "That's Why I Love You like I Do." In the dirgelike "Streets of Sin," terse, distorted guitar lines coil in on themselves as the prodigal narrator, so desperate to get back home, finds there's no guarantee he'll even be welcomed. With so little redemption at hand, how Ely manages to advise, "Don't let your love turn to hate" ("Fightin' for My Life") bespeaks both the mystery and the beauty of this masterpiece.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/15/2003
Label: Rounder / Umgd
UPC: 0011661318120
catalogNumber: 613181
Rank: 272396

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