Review Summary: The third album of Living Colour, released in 1993, was an angry and hard rocking take on the American society. It had a fantastic balance in between songs and is a great experiece for fans of the likes of Faith No More, RHCP or Jane's Addiction.Who is Living Colour?
Living Colour is a hard rock group formed in New York city in 1984 by African American musicians. They signed to Epic Records in 1987 and released their first album Vivid in 1988. Stylistically their music is a creative fusion influenced by guitar-based rock, funk, heavy metal, free jazz, hardcore punk and hip hop.
They are linked to the funk metal movement of the late 1980s typified by bands such as Fishbone, Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, and 24-7 Spyz. They are best remembered for the hits "Cult of Personality", which won a Grammy Award for best hard rock performance in 1989 and "Type" - their highest charting single. They were also named Best New Artist at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.
Corey Glover (1984-present)
Vernon Reid (1984-present)
Doug Wimbish (1992-present)
Will Calhoun (1984-present)
Muzz Skillings (1984-1992)
Info on the Album
"Stain" is the third album by Living Colour. It was released on March 2, 1993, by Epic Records. It is the first album to feature Doug Wimbish. The album features a much heavier and angrier Living Colour, containing elements of thrash metal and industrial music. The band would split up for eight years following a tour with Bad Brains in support of the album.
The Album itself
"Stain" starts off with the hard rocking smasher Go Away
. The song has that bass sound that you can often hear in KoRn songs with the bouncing sheme. The bridge in this song is a thing of beauty. It's a weird sung but great balanced catchy part that flew right into the very angry refrain. Living Colour has often very angry lyrics about bad treatments for foreign people but packaged in a very smart way like in this song. It's written in the view of an angry and just by hate blinded American:
I see the starving Africans on TV
I feel it has nothing to do with me
I sent my twenty dollars to Liveaid
I've aided my guilty conscience to go away
Now go Away
Ignorance Is Bliss
slows the Album down for a few moments, with a jamming sound that maybe best described with early Chili Peppers work. The song features a pretty cool guitar solo with smashing guitars in the background which was pretty catchy. There is also a very cool amount of twisted computer vocals at the end giving a short look into the industrial elements of the band that would accur later as well.
Leave it alone
has one of the catchiest refrains on the whole album with great background vocals/voices setting a great and fun mood overall in the song. It's really great to listen to it and the biggest plus that's already remarkable is the great voice of Corey Glover who adds a lot of character and individuality to the songs.
is a pretty funny thing talking about how everybody loves you when you're bisexual. That's already it, 'cause there is nothing else special to say to it. One thing though, fun songs shouldn't spent 5 minutes on an album, they should be rather compact and short packaged. Mind Your Own Business
surprises after a decent rather uneventful first minute with Corey singing "Why don't you mind your own business!" angrily and wacky guitars in the background. The song gets a very punkish edge and rocks pretty heavily. Other than that we also get the first signs of a rather repetive sound. The sound has a flair, but gets repetive pretty fast.
That's when we the ultimate song on the album kicks in.
has an endless amount of great energy which I've seen rarely on any other song. The song jams along, rocks violent and has a weird and bouncing bass in the background. The refrain is very catchy with Corey yelling "Everything that I want, isn't it everything that you've got?" throughout of it and it's an easy headbanger. In my opinion it's the best song they ever produced. It also packages again the angry lyrics in a brilliant mood and fashion.
In a new place, in a strange land
An undone new world, not a part of the plan
Hatred and fear is the language I know
Out of my home, out of control
Everything that I want, isn't it everything that you've got?
We now reach the next half of the album with track #7 entitled Never Satisfied
. It gets very predictable from now, you can pretty much guess what follows next on the song which is sad. The song really has no elements of surprise or "Hey!"-moments aside from a nice little guitar solo. But as Ausländer showed, they know it when to kick in a very good and rather different song. Nothingness
is a wonderful song, with a wonderful melody in the background completed with a beautiful refrain.
All I have to feel is my lonliness
Nothing in the attic 'cept an empty chest
And nothing lasts forever
The overall sound is very early Faith No More oriented (The Real Thing e.g. -> Underwater Love). You can easily see the influences here but they put that sound really well with the song and it adds to a great experience. It's a wonderful song with great vocal work and easily one of the highlights here.
continues the set of rather uneventful songs as it shows nothing really remarkable aside from a catchy refrain yet again. The main sound gets so boring pretty fast which is a bit of a shame. The ending of the song made up for a bit as it showed great hard and heavy guitar work and angry sounding vocals.
is a very cool 2 minute interlude, showing some great instrumental work only which set an awesome mood. It has a very cool 80's hip hop sound mainly and great hard hitting guitars. It's really a great track to just bounce around. This Little Pig
kicks in heavily but not so fast but then kicks in with full force. Heavy guitars, fast drums and a Motörhead-ish main sound. It's a fast headbanger that easily catapulted the album up a notch during the whole listening process. Throughout the song we get some really cool scratching as well and the whole band is absolutely on fire for this one. From a lyrical standpoint it's also one of more funnier songs here, stating humans just plain as pigs on missions.
This little pig's on a mission
This little pig needs a plan
This little pig's got ambition
This little pig does what he can
This little pig's got cum on his hands
This little pig needs money to talk
This little pig comes up with a plan
This little pig whistling rock
is another great instrumental piece which had a classical sound and spoken work which was set in a weird computer voice. It left you in a more scarier mood overall and delivers a great build up for the last song entitled Wall
. It's a rocking and funky five minute song and has a perfect blend of pop, funk and metal. It's a perfect way to end a very strong album.
~ Go Away
~ Leave it alone
~ This Little Pig
+ Great and powerful vocals
+ Smart lyrics
+ Great 90-ish atmosphere
+ Catchy hooks and energized music
+ Excellent balancing of bad and good songs to leav a postive end result
+ Very strong and pretty much perfect second half
- Repetive sound at the beginning
Living Colour is a band that is pretty much hit or miss. "Stain" is an absolute hit in my opinion while it was a really hard decision what rating I should give at the end. At first I struggled between 3 and 4 only to end with a great 4.5. The band is absolute on fire, delivers angry funk rock fireworks everywhere and has surprises like almost nobody else. If you liked the 90's, Faith No More, The Chili Peppers and all common bands then you will absolutely love this. And you should also take a look at it if you're not a fan of it. You won't be disappointed.