When I was in high school preparing for a leadership position in a large school organization, a mentor provided me with very sound advice: to be a good leader, everyone in the group needs to see that you’re fair. That means that when you’re dealing with a friend in that group, you have to be much tougher with them than with anyone else. Otherwise, you run the risk of coming across as playing favorites.
It is in that spirit that I provide this review.
Backwordz, headed by singer/rapper Eric July, is rap metal band that offers a libertarian message through its music. Because of its libertarian leanings, I want Backqordz to be successful. Very successful. Such a message is sorely lacking in today’s culture, which is inundated by hedonism and social justice. Nevertheless, the last thing the libertarian movement, or Backwordz for the matter, needs is a mindless cheerleader hyping up a one-trick pony who can scream great things about liberty but can’t carry a tune.
Backwordz is no one-trick pony. It is a solid band with strong musicians performing well-crafted songs. While the majority of the songs center around libertarian themes (Praxeology, anyone?), the album also includes songs that include personal reflections.
The first impression I had while listening to the album was not its political messages, but its sound quality. The sound is clear and well-balanced among all performers, allowing listeners to headbang to their hearts’ content.
And there are some strong headbanging songs on the CD. Among the album’s strongest songs is Statism, which opens with Eric July rapping about his purpose in life, which is to “abolish all the government”.
The banging of heads ensues with a sound reminiscent of P.O.D.
There are other strong songs, including Individualism, Addict, and Let Me Live.
Snap might as well be the anthem for frustrated libertarians the world over. The song has a great punk beat with an Offspring feel. The lyrics deal with the impatience many libertarians feel when interacting with people whose lack of knowing what they’re talking doesn’t prevent them from repeating inane arguments.
I’m not in a fragile state of mind. I just don’t run away, ’cause it’s a waste of my time. I’m not in a fragile state of mind and I might get a bad rap if I so happen to snap.
As enjoyable as the music is, I’m afraid the album has one large weakness, and it relates to its main reason for being: the lyrics.
The ideas the lyrics capture are wonderful and spot on. Eric July does a tremendous job identifying what it means to live in liberty.
However, sometimes the ideas the song is trying to convey are bigger than the song itself. This problem can be seen in two ways. First, far too many verses and choruses include more words than otherwise sound “natural”. Second, the rhyming in those verses and choruses are very inconsistent.
This isn’t a problem if a listener is focusing on the underlying rhythm of the song. However, if he or she wants to listen to the words themselves, the inconsistency between a song’s lyric rhythm and rhyme and instrumental rhythm requires the listener to work that much harder to grasp the song’s message.
In many ways, this is a wonderful problem to have. July’s lyrics, which are perceptive about our currently insane political conditions and what it means to live in liberty, require people to listen and think. Those who engage with the substance within these songs will benefit, in both mind and spirit, in the long run. However, because in far too many cases the ideas July address don’t fit tightly with the songs in which they are expressed, it is still a problem. People who would otherwise resonate to a song’s ideas may not be able to given these constraints.
Notwithstanding my technical issues about the lyrics, this is a very strong debut album for Backwordz. The overall sound quality is excellent. The songs are tight and rock hard. And its message is sorely needed to be heard.
I hope Backwordz continues performing and creating new albums. What encourages me, beyond their politics and Christianity, is their hunger. A listener can tell by listening to their songs that the band wants to keep improving. To be great. If the band keeps honing their craft in all aspects, I can only think of one word to describe their destiny.
A Simple Fool’s Rock CD Rating (1-10)
Veracity, by Backwordz
Stay Sick Recordings, 2017
Sound quality: 9
Song quality: 8
Lyric quality: 7
Overall rating: 8
Source: A Simple Fool