25 Songs, 1 Hour 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming six years after England, Half English, 2008’s Mr. Love & Justice displays British political troubadour Billy Bragg recharged and at his most musical to date. His ongoing association with the Blokes — his steady backing band, featuring legendary keyboardist Ian McLagan (Small Faces/ Faces) — lifts his music to inspired, previously untouched plateaus. There’s real peach-fuzzed electric guitar interplay on “Something Happened” and a legitimate nightclub groove to the title track, courtesy of McLagan’s Fender Rhodes electric piano. The extra musical cushions allow Bragg to settle back and sing with less stridency, invoking the sensitive side that’s often been overshadowed by his harsh, nasal tone and the extremes of his piercing electric guitar. Here, he embraces an acoustic for “If You Ever Leave” and employs legendary Soft Machine vocalist Robert Wyatt for the haunting opening track, “I Keep Faith.” Politics still simmer within the solemn marching drama of “O Freedom” and the overwrought puns of “The Johnny Carcinogenic Show.” Bragg has mellowed with age and matured musically, and it shows.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming six years after England, Half English, 2008’s Mr. Love & Justice displays British political troubadour Billy Bragg recharged and at his most musical to date. His ongoing association with the Blokes — his steady backing band, featuring legendary keyboardist Ian McLagan (Small Faces/ Faces) — lifts his music to inspired, previously untouched plateaus. There’s real peach-fuzzed electric guitar interplay on “Something Happened” and a legitimate nightclub groove to the title track, courtesy of McLagan’s Fender Rhodes electric piano. The extra musical cushions allow Bragg to settle back and sing with less stridency, invoking the sensitive side that’s often been overshadowed by his harsh, nasal tone and the extremes of his piercing electric guitar. Here, he embraces an acoustic for “If You Ever Leave” and employs legendary Soft Machine vocalist Robert Wyatt for the haunting opening track, “I Keep Faith.” Politics still simmer within the solemn marching drama of “O Freedom” and the overwrought puns of “The Johnny Carcinogenic Show.” Bragg has mellowed with age and matured musically, and it shows.

TITLE TIME
13

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