The Nightwatchman
One Man Revolution


2.0
poor

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
April 22nd, 2007 | 69 replies | 41,059 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tom Morello's solo debut is a failure on all accounts.

The Nightwatchman, the moniker of Tom Morello’s solo project, is not at all what one might expect from Morello. Instead of effect-laden guitars and standard rock songs, One Man Revolution puts Tom Morello in front of a microphone with just an acoustic guitar. Why? He is a one man revolution, of course. According to Morello, The Nightwatchman is “the black Robin Hood of the 21st century.” That might be true; he is stealing from some of the greatest folk artists and trying to make it his own. He tries to sound like Johnny Cash while singing the protest songs of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Instead, One Man Revolution sounds like a monotonous funeral dirge.

With Audioslave breaking up, Rage Against the Machine reuniting, and all the other news surrounding Morello’s various projects, one must wonder where he gets the time to make a solo album. After hearing the album, it becomes apparent that Morello spent little time on the album, as One Man Revolution is an album of underdeveloped ideas and simple, stripped down acoustic songs meant to inspire the most liberal of liberal Americans, but do radical Americans, no matter which side they are on, need any more inspiration? On One Man Revolution, Morello says only what others have said, making no new points and no profound insight. Doesn’t he have an honors degree in political science from Harvard? Instead of using his vast political knowledge to raise questions about the government he consistently rebels against, Morello’s lyrics tell pointless metaphor after pointless metaphor. The opening stanza to Let Freedom Ring gives one of the best examples of this:

There's a man homeless and hungry
There's a wind that's hard and biting
There's a song in need of singing
There's a fuse in need of light
It's no secret the day is coming
And it's a day I hope to see
But if they ask
If they ask you brother
Who told you that
You didn't hear it from me

Here, Morello depicts a scene of hopelessness on the streets of America and speaks of a “day” that is coming, but throughout the song, he never elaborates on what that day might entail. Politics aside, Morello’s lyrics fail to make any points because of a lack of elaboration or explanation for anything he begins.

Musically, this album is just as poor as the lyrics. Most of the album is just Morello and an acoustic guitar playing predictable, repetitive chord progressions. Morello’s guitar work is great throughout the entire album, as he is an accomplished guitarist, and the production is clear with Brendan O’Brien behind the soundboard, but those are the only redeeming qualities of the album. Morello’s singing, his first effort as a lead singer, fails. Flesh Shapes the Day exemplifies Morello’s attempt to anthemic singing. Morello sings about racism in America, explaining that Jesus and his followers were black, so why should everyone oppress blacks? With a stereotypical blues riff, Morello enters a chorus that makes no sense, where he randomly says “mic check” repeatedly. When he sings the verses, it sounds more like speaking, taking a page out of Zach De La Rocha’s book. He fails to realize, however, that a stripped down acoustic setting calls for better vocal melodies. He sings like this throughout the entire album. The best songs on the album come when Morello brings more musicians in, like on the lead single The Road I Must Travel. Beginning with an almost patriotic melody, the song builds from palm-muted chords to a full band chorus. Backup vocalists aid Morello in his melodies, and even his more spoken word style in the verse works with the driving drums and bass behind him.

Overall, One Man Revolution sounds like Morello in the studio laying down basic ideas for songs that he could later expand upon and make into formidable, listenable songs. Instead, Morello felt satisfied with his efforts and released the album as is. Unfortunately, he forgot he cannot sing or write coherent lyrics, and mostly in these two aspects, One Man Revolution fails. The album also falls short because of repetition and a lack of energy. Aside from Morello’s guitar playing, there is nothing enjoyable for the listener. It’s time for Rage Against the Machine to come back.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
2.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2007



17920 Comments


man i fucking hate this guy

def. good review

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2007



6085 Comments


I have to go with Chan on this one on both accounts. Both of his bands do nothing for me and this seems just as bad.

def. good review tho tbqfh

711
April 22nd 2007



1342 Comments


planereq are you an alt account?
Ive missed something.
And yes good review

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
April 22nd 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah he's trust.

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2007



6085 Comments


itsa me! trust!

Slaapkamers
April 22nd 2007



596 Comments


Revolution!

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2007



6085 Comments


it is a revolution!This Message Edited On 04.22.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2007



17920 Comments


he is talking about the album okay STOP SPAMMING

Doppelganger
April 22nd 2007



3124 Comments


Great review. It looks like I can walk up to some of my friends and say, "I told you so."

iarescientists
April 22nd 2007



5863 Comments


Good review.

The thought of Tom Morello stripped down to just an acoustic guitar is pretty lol.

The Jungler
April 22nd 2007



4827 Comments


I honestly thought that were was a chance this would be good. Not that I was ever planning on hearing any of it though.
Nice review.

Stoo
April 22nd 2007



34 Comments


I'm still going to buy this. I like the songs I have heard.

Oddsen
April 22nd 2007



1127 Comments


I heard a tad bit of some of this and it seemed okay. Good review, but if I buy this I'll probably think better of it based on what i've heard.

samthebassman
April 22nd 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I loved "until the end" from the axis of justice album but I wouldnt be surprised if this was garbage.

Meatplow
April 22nd 2007



5524 Comments


Listening to it now... it's really pretentious. I'm a One Man Revolution, come on.

That mic check thing is f*cking awful. Good review.

londoncalling457
April 22nd 2007



2590 Comments


While I'm a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine, I have to admit this album is pretty awful. Atleast he tried..

Great review also. The summary made me lol for some reason.

renegadestrings
April 23rd 2007



1435 Comments


whatta shame though i kind of saw this coming.
what really gets me is the fact that Tom Morello, the man who got me playing guitar and who's band RATM helped get me interested in politics, he's still pulling this rebellion 'rally the troops' kind of thing. i want him and others to sing about world issues and or national issues, but what they sing about instead, are problems that have no solutions. poverty for example, a basic microeconomics class can help you understand why poverty is so hard to eliminate.

my point being, i'm a poli sci major as well, and maybe its just me 'conforming to the system,' but the real problems lie outside our borders and within the apathetic lives of many Americans
on the other hand, organizational fragmentation is becoming a real problem along with legislative problems... sigh, don't gimme a revolution, just give us a manifesto and we'll dissect itThis Message Edited On 04.23.07

DekWannaBFlea
April 24th 2007



284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Interesting review. I'll have to give it a listen. Allmusic.com and Rollingstone gave it a decent review, (I generally hate Rollingstone but whatever) so we shall see.

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jzfyxzq5ldfe
http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/14200836/review/14228687/one_man_revolutionThis Message Edited On 04.24.07This Message Edited On 04.24.07

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
April 26th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I love unsolicited negs.

samthebassman
April 28th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album isnt great but certainly isnt bad.



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