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Morning Song – Human

June 20, 2017

Jennifer Silva’s deeply compassionate and brutally, unblinkingly honest Coming Up Short provides the best (book-length) insight into the plight of the post-industrial, post-union, high-risk, low-reward, individualized and therapeutic culture in which 21st century working-class adults swim (or, all too often, sink).

It’s a culture that’s produced, among other things, a new sub-genre of white working-class-man blues: with sparse instrumentation, gut-deep vocals, and a faith (if you can call it that) only in the irreducible humanity and agency of the individual. No union, no church, no school, no government agency is there to help. You’re on your own and nobody else is going to save you.

Rag’n’Bone Man’s “Human” fits right in. (The Record Company’s “Off The Ground” and Nathaniel Rateliff’s “S. O. B.” are other recent examples.) With Rory Charles Graham’s raw, unadorned voice singing over a bass-and-drums arrangement, filled out with ghostly backing vocals on the chorus, “Only Human” doesn’t give you hope, but it tells the truth it knows.

Some days that’s enough.

I’m only human,
I do what I can;
I’m just a man;
I do what I can;
Don’t put the blame on me
.

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From → Music

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