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Life and Death

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Album Review

To anyone familiar with the singer/songwriter genre, it comes as no surprise that JP Jones takes life rather seriously. It should nonetheless be noted that his concerns — life, death, and God — run heavier than most. He opens the appropriately titled Life and Death with "Cum a Live," an invective that waits until the last verse to come completely clean: "I ain't gonna fight in anybody's war not unless I know what all the fightin's for." Jones reveals and revels in his foul mood. It's most obvious on a song like "What in God's Name," a condemnation of fundamentalist Christians and Muslims who justify their deeds by evoking the name of their creator. Jones usually prefers a more elliptical message, as on "The King Is Dead" and "Pull Over." On these evocative tone poems the listener relies on the singer's voice and the arrangements to infer the meaning. It's anyone's guess what "Out of the time, out of the mist, out of an ancient wilderness, bring on the bells, let freedom ring, the king is dead, long live the king" means. But Jones' somber vocal and backing let the listener know that even with a change of kings, not much has changed. The weak point to Life and Death is the music itself. Jones seems more interested in the lyrics, and while a particular arrangement may reemphasize a song's mood, many of the melodies lack distinction. For those who have appreciated the high seriousness of recent Jones efforts, however, Life and Death will be a welcome addition. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., Rovi

Life and Death, JP Jones
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