Paul Hudson (H.R.) has been an unpredictable artist in myriad ways for all of his career. His vocal stylings are characterized by starts and stops, screams and croons, rage and peace all existing simultaneously. The musical styles he has chosen to participate in are almost as unpredictable as his actual performances. With the Bad Brains, he has sung raging, break-neck hardcore, as well as sunny, cool reggae tunes, and grindy funk metal.

On his first full-length solo album, Human Rights, (his first release since Bad Brains re-formed that same year) he adds another layer of style to his arsenal. It's hard to pin down exactly what style this exactly is, but it combines elements of soul, funk, reggae, R&B, and rock. Unlike other works this artist has been involved in before or after this particular one, all these varying elements exist at the same time in the songs, not as seperate ideas. Where on a Bad Brains album, you will get one hardcore song, followed by one that is most definitely reggae, and then the next song will return to hardcore, on Human Rights songs twist and bend upon themselves, defying categorization. The result is a bit schizophrenic, but not unpleasant.

Lyrically, the content is standard H.R. fare; predictable enough, but strong enough to carry the songs. Obviously he touches very strongly on issues of human rights ("Now you say 'No more welfare!' Must we work for you, with all the evil things you do? Abusing your holy laws, so vain. . .") which is an issue that the singer has found so central to his views, that he changed his stage name to H.R. because of it. There's also a good number of Rastafarian themed tunes on here ("I Luv King Jah", "Conquering Judah") which lend to the feeling that this is a gospel record with a message, not just a pop record recorded just for the fun of it, though this album most certainly is fun, in its own way.

Human Rights - 7 out of 10
joshthevegan: (screamy)

This world is dead )

September 2014



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