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Music Review: Donnie – The Daily News

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Political activist and musician Donnie has distinguished himself with this CD and its 13 tracks.  Indeed Donnie the lyricist and soulful singer has brought the headlines to life in song after song of political angst that is a combination of R&B and driving soul.  Themes combined with a great voice, not unlike Stevie Wonder, make The Daily News a must-have CD for all ages and musical tastes.

My favorite track "Robot" was a fast-paced love song, one of the few on the album. Donnie’s "911" could be an anthem to those who died in the Twin Towers’ destruction — it is that good and true to itself. The other love song "If I Were You" made for really easy listening and singing along with in some parts. 

His most outstanding political statements comes in the form of two songs: One is about the Atlanta child murders that made headlines decades ago. And "China Doll" is about an incest victim. The theme and range of his artistry is unusual in its scope of taboo subjects that this artists tackles with ease, dignity, and distinction. 

He clearly covers the gamut of societal woes from singing about "Over-the-Counter-Culture" to a brother looking for a job in "Classifieds." I was expecting rap, but instead got soulful sounds. This is not rap, it is not hip-hop, but politically progressive consciousness set to rhythmic and driving beats that make you listen time and again.

Overall, the CD is success.  

It is not perfect, nor is it perfectly original in its goal. He is not creating, nor recreating the activist/artist.  It has a few rough spots that are inconsistent and don’t quite live up to the pacing of the other tracks. And I would not have made "Impatient People" the first track. Not because it is not good, but because it is not the best nor second best on the album. But that said, I can still recommend it without reservation.

It works on many levels. I enjoyed and appreciated the fact that it was not misogynist, nor full of profanity. 

It did not overreach and that is important for a young, fresh artist such as Donnie. Most of all, he was not trying to fit into the already over-crowded field of men whose lyrics banish women to Dante’s lowest rungs of hell, instead of striking a balance where both men and women are flawed human beings. He is true to himself and to his audience. Making each one of his original creations a joy to listen to. The lyrics connect with the listener on a mental and visceral level.

The cover qualifies as equally creative because it looks like newsprint with the list of songs and credits. And the CD itself is designed like a crossword puzzle with the artist and album title. 

As one who has listened to artists like Don Lee back in the late 1970s; when he was just starting out with his unique sound — breathing life into highly original political poems and satirical societal commentaries that both startled the audience and made them hear his message loud and clear, this reviewer is uniquely qualified to review the activist/artist. Donnie is such an artist who has eschewed the overly commercial and the common to become a voice and standard of the people.

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