Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Marry me Strickland!

Listening to: 'Love Goes Down' by Plan B [The Defamation of Strickland Banks]

After the emoness of the last post, I think a music review is in order! For this I have chosen an album I bought yesterday - The Defamation of Strickland Banks by Plan B. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned him before. I was really looking forward to this album, and I wasn't disappointed.

The first question that comes to mind is, what is this? Is it a normal album, a concept album inspired by a movie (like Jay-Z's American Gangster), a movie soundtrack, or a musical? Well the answer is, all of the above (he has called it 'a film for the blind'). The songs serve as different chapters in the life of Strickland Banks, as the soul singer meets a groupie on a night out and is then put in jail for a crime he didn't commit. The music videos for the singles released so far ('Stay Too Long' and 'She Said') are all 'scenes' from the short film The Defamation of Strickland Banks, which is currently in production (if Wikipedia's anything to go by).

As a normal album, it's one of the best I've heard in recent times. If you like your blue-eyed soul - Amy Winehouse's incredible Back to Black being the most recent success - you're gonna love this. It's a complete turn around from Plan B's first album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, which was heavy on the hard-hitting rap lyrics (some of the tracks...no, all of the tracks are amazingly twisted). Defamation... on the other hand, is heavy on the dulcet tones of Plan B's singing voice. Love Goes Down has to be the sexiest song I've heard in a while...ooooooooh baby! And the falsetto on She Said is amazing. The hard-hitting lyrics are still there, notably on 'Darkest Place'. And all the tracks have a very authentic 60's feel to them, which is commendable considering there's a fair bit of rapping going on. There are plenty of trumpets, doo-wah backing vocals, soaring strings (I'd buy an instrumental version of 'The Recluse', just to hear the violins!), and even a gospel-type choir! Speaking of which, I love the fact that the gospel choir appears on a track titled 'Welcome to Hell'! Get it? 'gospel'...'hell'...oh never mind. Anyway, to me, the album is 'all thriller, no filler'.

As a concept album/'film for the blind', I think it's amazing. The songs tell you the story, but at the same time, they don't give everything away. The final track 'What You Gonna Do' tells us that Strickland is back in court to find out if he's gonna be set free or sent back to jail...we never find out the outcome, and ironically the last line of the album is "just don't leave me on a cliffhanger"...genius! I can almost picture Plan B watching me from afar and laughing maniacally when he sees my frustration at not knowing the ending. I guess I'll have to wait for the movie, eh?

So yeah, I love the album. I hope it charts well this weekend, 'cos the legend that is Plan B really deserves it. Soooo....GO BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

To finish off, I'm gonna give you two very different videos. The first is track #2 off the new album. I can't get the tune out of my head, and for some reason it reminds me of Charles & Eddie's Would I Lie to You. The second is from Plan B's first album (it took a while to choose between this one and Sick 2 Def). Someone this versatile has to be a genius. Enjoy!

Writing's On the Wall

No More Eatin'


  1. the kind of music I want to listen to. Let me download the album now.

    Thanks for this post! :)

  2. Is it just me or does he look just like Andrew Flintoff?! :O

  3. Gah. Absolutely IN LOVE with she said.

  4. LD - You're welcome :-) Enjoy!

    Chavie - Err it's just you kiddo :D The only they share is the stubble...apart from that, they're nothing like each other!

    T - :D Have you heard this acoustic version? It's completely different but sooooo good.


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