As I am new to writing here on Blogcritics, I’ve decided that I’m gonna try something a little different to what I usually do on my blog (which can be found via clicking on my BC name). I’m gonna do a track review. The track in question is Sage Francis’ “Going Back to rehab,” from the album, Human Death Dance.
Sage Francis is an “indie” rapper and the only hip-hop act signed to Epitaph Records. He’s by far my favourite rapper and possibly the best artist I have come across recently.
One of the things I love about Sage Francis is his use of a live band rather than an entirely computerised backing track. This gives a lot more emotion to his music, and “Going Back to Rehab” in particular wouldn’t sound the same or have the same emotional impact without it.
The picked guitar in the beginning, together with Sage’s voice sets a mood that the flow of his words and the instrumental progression build on throughout the song, making it an epic, emotional journey.
The song starts with a voice reading out an alphabetical list of drug names. The voice then starts to fade out with an increasing reverb effect. Once the voice has been drowned out, Sage starts rapping.
The lyrics in this song are nothing short of art. Most people have forgotten that RAP stands for Rhythm And Poetry, but I believe that Sage Francis is exactly what we all need to remind us of this. I would even go as far as saying that he’s our generation’s Bob Dylan. And that’s a bold claim!
When the chorus comes in, the song starts to fill out. Piano, violin and drums are added to the mix before the drums drop out a few barres into the second verse.
Around the four-minute mark in the song, it sounds as if the track is over. However, the first verse is then repeated with the vocals mixed into the background, almost joining the music in a way that makes them sound like another instrument or a sample. As the verse ends, the whole band, including the drums come back with the addition of the voice we heard in the beginning of the song, which finishes reading the list of drugs. So the song ends as it began, like a reprise.
This is the kind of song you can listen to with the lights off and your eyes closed. It absorbs you until there is nothing but the music. Mainstream rappers can take a page from Sage’s book and be reminded of the beauty that can come from this genre.
Even if you don’t like rap, give Sage Francis a listen. He is an artist in every sense of the word, and you won’t regret it.