Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical
Record Label: Fueled by Ramen
Release Date: October 28, 2008
I've been meaning to start writing reviews and posting them here on this great website, but as someone diagnosed with chronic procrastinationitis, I have only just now got around to writing. I thought it was fitting to start off by reviewing my favorite album of '08, Razia's Shadow: A Musical. An ambitious project in itself, this album features strong vocals accompanied by an array of instruments telling a tale of lament and love.
As someone who doesn't listen to musicals on a regular basis I was skeptical at first about Forgive Durden's follow up to Wonderland. After previewing a few tracks prior to its release, I had to check and make sure both albums were written by the same artist. There is practically no consistency between the two, but for me that's just fine. I loved everything I heard. Razia's Shadow really hits home for me.
A large selling point for the album, I'm sure, is the star studded cast accompanying Mr. Dutton on his epic lyrical adventure. The narration by Aaron Weiss, usually accompanied by a soft, rhythmic undertone creates a vivid picture for the listener. He really opens some doors to the imagination with this method of storytelling after each track.
While the lyrics aren't profound in any sense of the word, you will be singing along on certain songs and I've been caught rehearsing in the shower on many occasions. The lyrics do a good job of coloring in between the lines and breathing life into the story. All the characters, places, and settings have distinct flavors and I can conjure up specific pictures when listening to any track. "The Missing Piece," "Meet The King," and "Toba The Tura" are particularly infectious and caution should be taken prior to giving them a spin. Be prepared to open up the CD booklet to get those lyrics just right when you sing along.
"The Missing Piece" features both Dutton and Lizzie Huffman swooning over the speakers: "Nobody understood me till his eyes fixed upon me/ My puzzle life's complete, now that I've found the missing piece!" Both vocalists flex their vocal chords on this track and if Casey Crescendo didn't have you sold at the first track, this one should let you know you're listening to something special. Taking a cue from this track, "It's True Love," is another duet that features Dutton and Greta Salpeter. While similar, Greta really makes the track and both singers speed up the tempo slightly and convince me of their love for one another.
"Toba the Tura" features Chris Conley who unsurprisingly nails his part on the track. The faster nature of the song suits Chris well and as a result he takes control of the track and effortlessly leaves me impressed. The tempo switch halfway through the song intends to hit hard as the lyrics describe: "My words will tear through the air, pierce through the despair, to find your arrogant, throbbing ears/ If it’s too much to bear, or to hear, or take, I’ll be frank, let my inflection be crystal clear."
There's something on this album for everyone. I've recommended Razia's Shadow to a lot of people who share a lot of different musical tastes. Every one of them has listened to it and has at least made mention about one song on the CD. Thankfully they are competent enough to appreciate the hard work necessary to craft something like this and I think it adds significant value to the album. If you really can't get into something like this I will be surprised and hope that you at least view it in its most simple form as a musical, a work of art.
Good review, but I have to disagree with the narration. I thought it was cool but it got pretty annoying once I realized it was on the end of EVERY track, and that is really the only complaint I have about this album, everything else is amazing.
I unfortunately have to disagree with the lasting value. I listened to this album around 40 times in the first month, and now, it's hard to get through. I wish there was a version that didn't have the narration.
Cheers for the review mate, must admit that i gave this a half arsed listen when i first got it didn't like it straight away and shelfed it, but your review made give it a another real listen and i havern't stopped listening since, cheers buddy.