Sunday, May 20, 2007

Number 613 - Beth Hart

Number 613

Beth Hart

"Leave The Lights On"

Many rock acts/performers in history have dealt with "Sensitive" issues, songs like 's "Luka" or Elvis Presley's "In The Ghetto" even 's "Janies Got A Gun" and not to forget Iron Maiden's "Wasting Love" the latter being a very taboo subject.(Just click the song titles and you can see the videos for these songs, let me know if there are any broken links we know what the nazi viacom police are like!) Now Beth Hart's song also belongs in this group of "real" songs. Beth's song is brutally honest and gut wrenching. Why this woman is not a "World Wide Superstar" amazes me, however she has a welcome home here in The Definitive 1000 Songs of all Time" (Thanks to cuddles mum for the song)
Welcome to the sounds and poetry of recovery and redemption. On Beth Hart's third album in six years, the singer/songwriter has taken her already lean, rootsy approach to writing, scaled it back to skillfully reflect what is essential in a song, and then, as is her trademark, poured the very grain of her being into each performance. On Leave the Light On, Hart speaks through unapologetically classic, mainstream rock music so gritty, edgy, and true (informed by the gospels according to the Rolling Stones, the Faces, and Janis Joplin), it's virtually unlike anything out there at the moment -- the White Stripes not withstanding. "Lifts You Up," the opener, uses one of the finest anthemic R-A-W-K hooks in a chorus since Delaney & Bonnie, employing muddy ringing buzzsaw guitars, upright piano, bass, drums, and hand percussion to celebrate the notion of life on life's terms: "It lifts you up it puts you down/Then it feeds you life, then it lets you drown/While it holds your heart then it slowly tears you/And you know life is what I mean."
The title track is the first real power ballad of the new century. It is the most searing cut on the set. Virtually every word is loaded with dark confession and emotion, but unlike some of her peers who also explore the sewers and gutters of human ruination and soul death, Hart is far from content to remain there. Buoyed by her own piano, assorted keyboards emulating strings, Greg Leisz's pedals, strummed guitars, and a rhythm section, Hart's words seek the edges of the cage and bust forth, counting on the possibility of change inherent in every moment. The lyrics, centered around the fear of being alone after a life of pain -- absorbed and meted out -- are scalding in their indomitable hope.
These two tracks become the first turns of the wheel of pop culture dharma -- rock & roll is the means to convey the fact that these small truths have become self-evident: that a woman can survive, sometimes in spite of her best efforts. Where more "contemporary" architectures are used, on "Lay Your Hands on Me" with its drum loops, "World Without You" with its beautifully textured keyboards, or the stunning acoustic piano majesty of "Lifetime" backed by a whispering Hammond organ, the effect is the same. Songs that take no prisoners, such as "Bottle of Jesus" or "Broken & Ugly," with fierce melodies and burning guitar crunchiness, are welcome alternatives to the tuneless radio drivel of Limp Bizkit or Korn. Ultimately, Leave the Light On is indeed Hart's crowning achievement thus far. Not many can string three fine albums together, let alone make each better than the last. This too is part of a rock & roll heritage that Hart, one suspects, is proudly a part of: the process of artistic growth realized over time, one that seeks the long road rather than short gain. Ultimately, as Beth Hart continues to allow her muse to inform and transform the ashes of her past, the listener benefits mightily from her journey. No matter what happens commercially or critically, this album will sound necessary and vital a decade from now. Classic rock indeed. ~ [Thom Jurek]
For Elvis Presley see Number For 840
For For Iron Maiden see Number 975 & Number 755
What does Rolling Stone think about Beth Hart?
For Beth Hart, making music has always been the eye of an otherwise stormy life. But following an arrest and rehab, she's never looked healthier . . . or sounded more passionate. On her third full-length, Leave the Light On, Hart is a soulful mythologizer of her own self-destruction; the sound-a-like mixing American roots forms with classic rock into bloodletting songs with mainstream pop appeal. On the title track, the twenty-nine-year old sings "Can the damage be undone? I swore to God I'd never be what I've become . . ." And on an upbeat -style shuffle, she remarks, "I'm just dirty footprints at your door." The record has its lusty and celebratory moments too, and of course plenty of catharsis to offer Adult Pop radio programmers who jumped on her 1999 raw-nerve hit "L.A. Song." TODD SPENCER (October 20, 2003)
3 stars??? What the ... ?

Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (We are a family magazine and do not endorse a drug culture) and the Album ranked at Number (What would our readers think?)
(What was Janis, Jimmy, Elvis and your Fave Boy Bobby Dylan on then? Tea?)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 71.6 out of 108 pts

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