Album review: Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx, "We're New Here"
Anyone who watched this week’s Grammy Awards — or any Grammy telecast in the past 10 years — is familiar with the warm fuzzies that come when artists of divergent stripes, generations and tax brackets come together in song. As our notion of popular music continues to splinter into a million niche fragments, these kumbaya moments make us feel like there’s still some unbreakable strand of musical thread holding us all together.
But not when the stitching is sloppy. And that’s the case with “We’re New Here,” a new collaboration between poet, jazzman and hip-hop progenitor Gil Scott-Heron and British indie pop producer Jamie xx. The latter — whose band the xx is responsible for the most superb make-out music of its generation — has remixed Heron’s moody 2010 comeback album, “I’m New Here,” replacing Heron’s sparse instrumentation with chilly, distant electronic pulses.
But only a few minutes in, and the disc’s left-field promise fizzles into what feels like a chore. The meandering beats feel tossed off, Heron’s words feel merely decorative, you can’t dance to it, and you certainly can’t smooch to it.
| February 18, 2011; 3:05 PM ET
Categories: Album reviews | Tags: Gil Scott-Heron, Jamie xx, The xx
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