September 22, 2010

Music Is...Plan B - The Defamation Of Strickland Banks

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I don't know how many of you have heard of this London born artists, but I was introduced to his music around mid to end of July this year. I may have previously heard his name a time or two but it never went beyond that. However with only one hearing of this whole album, I have to say there isn't one song I don't like. The album is telling the story from the viewpoint of a concocted character named Strickland Banks, a British soul singer, and how his life takes a drastic ride downhill, hence his defamation.

The two openers, "Love Goes Down" and "Writings On The Wall" are songs he performs in concert which lead you to assume he's talking about his girlfriend. "Stay To Long" then follow him and his crew through the night celebrating the successful concert which results in a one night stand with an unknown female. In "She Said" the woman becomes absorbed in Strickland's music and finds herself insanely in love with him. His feelings are far from the same, so he rejects her causing the woman to accuse him of rape. After the conclusion of the ensuing trial, Mr. Banks finds himself heading to prison narrated in "Welcome To Hell". 

The rest of the songs describe prison life for him and how he copes. "Hard Times" and "The Recluse" detail Strickland's feelings of isolation and vulnerability. While inside he is confronted and abused by another prisoner. On "Traded In My Cigarettes" he says, "So I saved up all my cigarettes and I traded them in for a tool....I don't wanna hurt nobody but what choice do I have..." During the confrontation mentioned before, an inmate sentenced to life helps him put down the attacker and takes the blame for it. "Darkest Place" goes on to describe the guilt in his conscience for what has occurred. Strickland's initial frustration, rage and eventual acceptance of life in prison are expressed on two of the final three tracks "Free" and "I Know A Song". With the last track, "What You Gonna Do" Banks is in court again regarding new evidence brought to life on his case, leaving you to interpret whether or not he returns to prison or released. 

I like the beats. The album has a 50's Motown vibe to it. His voice has and underlying raspy feel. As always, I cant leave you without a play-list.  

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