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Become the Media

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Album Review

As the little pin on the cover proudly proclaims, this is the sixth collection of rants and pondering from your favorite spoken word artist. The album was mainly recorded around summer 2000, with such topics as the Green Party and the American Election of 2000, the World Trade Organization "riots" of 1999, the International Monetary Fund, an address to the H2K conference, and hellish life in suburbia. Jello Biafra's overriding message this time is that the traditional media outlets have been too influenced and controlled by private interests, thus limiting what people find out about. He goes on, in different segments, to describe a more grassroots way to circumvent this by people "becoming the media." There are problems, though, since a lot of what Jello does sounds like mere preaching to the choir, and he doesn't always back up his claims or state his sources. The album is some interesting listening, though, and Jello can be quite entertaining for a prolonged period of time. His enthusiasm and humor can take you through even his longest pieces in one setting; it's a joy to hear his sing-songy, giggling opening proclamation on one of the tracks of how he "crashed the Democratic convention" in the summer of 2000. However, prolonged listening can become a problem. Mr. Biafra is also know for his long-windedness, with speaking appearances that can run over four hours in length. The best way to undertake this material is to go one disc at a time, or even one track at a time (some tracks run up to 55 minutes in length) to allow the subject matter to sink in. These discs pack a lot of knowledge (and allegations), so it's best not to shotgun all three CDs at once. The collection does provide an entertaining and singular viewpoint to the problems of our times.


Born: 17 June 1958 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Following the demise of the Dead Kennedys in the wake of the financial and emotional disaster that was their 1986 obscenity trial, vocalist and free-speech icon Jello Biafra launched a solo career, devoting some of his releases to spoken word observations on American culture and politics and others to collaborative efforts with several bands. Biafra was born Eric Boucher in Boulder, Colorado, and began collecting odd records in high school. He moved to San Francisco and took his stage name from the...
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Become the Media, Jello Biafra
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