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Lord Save Us All From Depravity

a review of free*

the Secret Life of Pudding

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

by Nat Budin

The self-proclaimed greatest band in the history of recorded music, Jim's Big Ego, has just released their new album, "free*".  That's right, "free*".  That's "free" with an asterisk, which has a couple of meanings, from what I can tell:

  1. It's available for pay-what-you-want-including-nothing download from their web site, but if you want a higher-bitrate version or a physical (CD or vinyl) copy, you have to pay a designated amount of money.  Sort of like an NPR pledge "gift."
  2. The music on it is Free as in Freedom, or at least, Creative Commons-licensed, although the liner notes aren't super clear on exactly what the licensing terms are, unfortunately.

So, how's the music?  To make a long story short, it's good!  Some highlights (for me, on a first listen):

  1. Pascagoula Pawn & Gun - a country/western song from Jim's Big Ego!  "Had to pawn my gun to buy the bullets, had to sell the bullets to get the gun - one day I'll get them both together, then everybody had better run!"  Hilarious.
  2. Award Show - they've been doing this one at concerts for awhile, and it's still funny.
  3. International - Jim's modern take on the Communist anthem, which, dare I say it, makes socialism catchy.
  4. Depravity - as Jim says, depravity is all around us!  A wonderfully sarcastic slap at the right.
  5. Utopia - a really beautiful song, the kind for which you take out the lighters at the concert.  Reminds me a lot of the earlier JBE and solo Jim albums.

To sum up - you may as well try it, it's free!  And this band is clearly betting that, like a junkie, you'll keep coming back for more.

read the full article: Lord Save Us All From Depravity