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Citizen Cope - Every Waking Moment Review

by Dan Upton

Several years ago, I picked up some random college sampler CD that included a track by Citizen Cope called "Let The Drummer Kick." I remember it being a pretty chill hip-hop track, if a bit bass-heavy (leading the roommate to comment, "Yeah, real chill, it's shaking the TV"), but I checked out the rest of the CD and didn't think much of it. Fourish years, label drama, and two CDs later, Clarence Greenwood's alter ego is back with another disc.

One of the things I really enjoy about the disc is that it gets back to that chill vibe on a lot of the songs. At least, musically, that's the case. Despite some continued work with some rappers, this disc is also a far cry from the hip-hop feel and owes much more to singer-songwriters and jam bands (perhaps as evidenced by his performing at Bonnaroo). One of the breaks in the laid back feel is on the track "Brother Lee," a quick, tense song delivered with a sense of urgency. A nice treat is the grooving funk instrumental "Awe" toward the end of the disc.

Lyrically, there's some pretty intense material; at least, that's what I'm getting out of it. As with the music, the lyrics are delivered in a poetic singer-songwriter style, so it's entirely possible I'm completely missing the point on some of them. "Friendly Fire" it's pretty direct in its repetition of "They say help is on its way/They shot him down/and he was innocent today." "Brother Lee" strikes me as a song about the effects someone's shady dealings are having on the rest of his family, and "107 Degrees" comes off as an indictment of the government's poor response to Hurricane Katrina.

I completely missed Citizen Cope's second CD, so I can't really say how much of a progression this is with respect to that. On the other hand, I can say that, even not taking any of his history into account, this is a thoroughly enjoyable disc both from a musical and a lyrical standpoint. If you want to just throw on something in the background, the music is good to mellow out to; if you want thoughtful lyrics to dig into and explore, they're here too. All in all, a great release that offers something a little different from the mainstream.

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Citizen Cope - Every Waking Moment


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