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Radio Retaliation

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Album Review

From the title alone, it's clear that Thievery Corporation has more on its mind than just the construction of breezy coffeehouse soundtracks and laid-back global chill. Radio Retaliation is a record of righteous fury (the targets are political, if that even needs to be said) and one that makes their previous efforts sound like Discreet Music in comparison. Thievery amps up their beats, quickens the pace, and unleashes a phalanx of vocal features to attack the D.C.-based Corporation's crosstown rivals on Capitol Hill and at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (Granted, this is still a revolution mostly in the head.) The mélange of worldbeat influences finds all the usual traces (Jamaica, India, Brazil, Nigeria, Arabia), but virtually all of the locales are charted by natives (Sleepy Wonder, Anoushka Shankar, Seu Jorge, Femi Kuti). On the title track, narcoleptic chatter Sleepy Wonder details his list of grievances, speaking for the entire corporation: "50,000 watts of Thievery hit them like poison darts/And watch the whole system what them build up fall apart." The two most important features are Femi Kuti's and Seu Jorge's; first, Kuti uses the track "Vampires" to call out African genocide throughout history (from Kinshasa to Darfur to Lagos to Malabo, Guinea), then Jorge comes next with the yin to Femi's yang, a beatific ode to peace titled "Hare Krsna." Thievery producers Rob Garza and Eric Hilton haven't quite revolutionized their beat-making or production from the past decade, but they sound energized by the political and social events of the 2000s. Despite the politics, there are still a few more of the ethereal masterpieces Thievery Corporation have made a hallmark in the past, including the sublime "Beautiful Drug" (featuring Slovakian singer Jana Andevska) and "Mandala," a guest feature for Anoushka Shankar that's particularly refreshing as an alternative to the usual Indian atmosphere on downbeat records (sampled, not played). The liner notes are a huge 20" x 30" fold-out booklet, including not only the lyrics but numerous quotes from a variety of world figures — from Einstein, Chomsky, and Edward Bernays to John Lee Hooker and Mos Def.

Customer Reviews

Yes it's that good.

Love this great cd with a message to be heard. Also one of the best cd packaging I've seen in years..incredible liner notes worth reading again and again.

I've tried but...

I've tried but, I can't stop to listen the album! At first, I wasn't too exited about the new corporation album, but it didn't took too long to be addicted. A real must.


i've recently purchased this album, and its amazing. the way they grap different influences from all over the world is brilliant. this is one of those albums you listen to endlessly. i love all the tracks, but like La Femme Parallel. even though it is a calming album, the messages in the songs are hard hitting. overall if you like music with a message, also at the same time is so relaxing. MUST BUY!!!


Formed: 1996 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Thievery Corporation make abstract, instrumental, midtempo dance music whose classification falls somewhere between trip-hop and acid jazz. Featuring the production skills of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation released several warmly received singles on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label (named after their own Washington, D.C. bar and nightclub) in 1996. Although previously known primarily among acid jazz and rare-groove DJs, the group shot to minor celebrity when a track...
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Radio Retaliation, Thievery Corporation
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Customer Ratings