Those who are only familiar with Joseph Arthur‘s poppier, soundtrack-friendly offerings—“Honey and the Moon” (American Pie 3, The O.C.), “In The Sun” (Saved!, The L Word, Scrubs, The Bourne Identity) and “You’re So True” (Shrek 2)—might be taken aback by the direction of his latest project Redemption City. The majority of the record’s lyrics are delivered in a spoken-word style, falling somwhere between Lou Reed‘s “Walk On The Wild Side” and Paris Hilton‘s lowbrow masterpiece “Drunk Text”.
Redemption City is a concept album of sorts, with a history that spans a whole decade. Back in 2002, photographer Peter Beard made a comment that Arthur’s Redemption’s Son sounded “too religious”, suggesting that he change the title to “Redemption City”. Unfortunately, the record was already on its way to stores, so it was too late to make any changes… Sad face!
The name haunted Arthur for years, until he eventually began writing and self-recording a project inspired by the title. “What would a city of redemption sound like?” he asked himself. “What kind of characters would inhabit it?” You can find out the answers (or something) by downloading the double album for free through his website (with the option to make a donation or purchase a limited-edition vinyl).
This is FOR REAL free. You don’t have to sell your soul to Satan or join any lame mailing lists.
Admittedly, sitting through the entirety of Redemption City can be a bit of a chore, depending on your mood. I’d recommend zeroing in on a few tracks and then expanding your horizons as you move along. “I Miss The Zoo” may not be the best place to start, but it’s a personal favorite. Maybe you’ll like it too? The world may never know (unless you leave a comment and tell me).