Sage Francis
Li(f)e


2.5
average

Review

by Inveigh USER (10 Reviews)
May 9th, 2010 | 82 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Li(f)e, Sage attempts to complete the transformation into more organic, folk and Americana influenced alt/indie music that was hinted at on 2007’s Human the Death Dance. Unfortunately, the experiment is a mixed bag at best.

Around the turn of the millennium a new hip hop sound emerged in various cities across the country, mainly in the Northeast and Midwest, that focused more on introspection, existential thinking and story-telling than much of the popular rap at the time. Garnering most of the press and attention for the so-called indie/emo hip hop movement were up-and-comers Atmosphere, Aesop Rock and Sage Francis. Sage built his reputation on a combination of slam poetry and battle-rapping – winning Scribble Jam in 2000 (while famously wearing a Metallica t-shirt). His debut full-length Personal Journals won him both critical acclaim and instant credibility in the underground with its unique, atmospheric production and complex, deep-thinking lyrics.

With Li(f)e, Sage attempts to complete the transformation into more organic, folk and Americana influenced alt/indie music that was hinted at on 2007’s Human the Death Dance. Unfortunately, the experiment is a mixed bag at best. Most emcees that reach this stage of their careers (fourth or fifth album, entering their mid-30s) will try something new – either lyrically, musically or both – in an attempt to freshen their approach and perception. Atmosphere went with a live band and a vigorous emphasis on story-telling while Aesop Rock streamlined his sound to make it more accessible to the average hip hop listener. In theory, Sage’s move to a more stripped-down sound should compliment his poetry-influenced, introspective raps; however, the lyrics on Li(f)e are even weaker than they were on his last outing and generally just sound tired and uninspired. His success was always rooted in sincerity and his ability to relate directly to the listener, but most of the songs here just seem forced and at times even cheesy (lines that end in “sad puppy dog face” don’t really do much to help his cause). The beats even falter at times, which takes the album from slightly enjoyable to absolutely un-listenable.

There are a few bright spots that keep the album from being a complete failure, such as “Diamonds and Pearls,” “Polterzeitgeist” and “16 Years,” and the album ends on a relatively good note with “The Best of Times” – but the abundance of weak material dooms Li(f)e in the end. Give credit to Sage Francis for trying something new and different and you certainly can’t fault the guy for lack of a consistent vision; but Li(f)e falls short due to the emcee’s shortcomings in the songwriting department this time around.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Inveigh
May 9th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah, short I know. but this isn't really worth writing all that much about. The songs I mentioned, plus maybe a couple others are the only ones that really deserve a listen or two. as always, feedback is welcomed and appreciated!

Blindsided
May 9th 2010


1871 Comments


Great short review man, I love short reviews lol, not like my Dessa one.
I probably won't bother with this but I am looking to purchase some of the older material by him.

Inveigh
May 9th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Personal Journals is great, so is the Makeshift Patriot EP, everything else is basically a mixed bag imo. There's definitely some good songs here and on the two before it, but I don't know if an entire album's really worth your money unless you're a pretty big fan.

oh and thanks man

Blindsided
May 9th 2010


1871 Comments


No problem man. People must not be liking it too much I think I saw it on half.ebay.com for like 5 bucks a week or so ago.

SeaAnemone
May 9th 2010


20304 Comments


sad to hear

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

Inveigh
May 9th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wait, this is already out? I thought it was coming out this Tuesday

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2010


31163 Comments


Most emcees at that reach this stage of their careers (fourth or fifth album, entering their mid-30s)

Should "at" be "who"?

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Inveigh
May 9th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ah shit yeah thanks for pointing that out

*fixed

SCREAM!
May 9th 2010


10096 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I agree with you on this. Too bad though cause i love PJ.

WHEN I CAME OUT MAH MAMA I WAS ZERO (line makes me lol)

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2010


31163 Comments


No probs, pos'd my man. I never expected anything good, especially after his last album

Inveigh
May 9th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

agreed, but even the last one was better than this. Good Fashion, Going Back to Rehab, Waterline and Blackout on White Night were all pretty great, better than anything on this. Thanks for the pos homie

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2010


31163 Comments


You know how I do

nastynick
May 9th 2010


853 Comments


You deserve a pos, my friend. Also, I agree with 99.9% of this review.










I am Nastynick, and I approve this review.

somberlain
May 9th 2010


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I never expected anything good, especially after his last album"

unfortunately I feel the same way
'Polterzeitgeist' '16 Years' and 'The Best of Times' are the only redeemable tracks on here
pos'd btw

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2010


31163 Comments


Great minds think alike sombs

somberlain
May 9th 2010


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Great minds think alike sombs"

true dat Dev but I was a HUGE Sage fan because of Personal Journals and he's let me down with the last 2 albums


SCREAM!
May 9th 2010


10096 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Is a healthy distrust anything like PJ? Cause all ive heard is PJ and the last 2 and im not sure if i want any more

somberlain
May 9th 2010


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Healthy Distrust is better than the last 2 but not as good as PJ

check out his live album 'Road Tested (2003-2005)' all his best songs
read my review for it (shameless self-promotion!)

cfbassist
May 9th 2010


330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i disagree with your rating on this, but it is a well written review...

for me i'm leaning to a 3-3.5 at the moment

and does anybody get a poison the well type vibe from little houdini?

also: anybody wanna hook me up with road tested? i can't find it anywhere

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2010


31163 Comments


and does anybody get a poison the well type vibe from little houdini?

Hip hop and PTW? Pretty sure Inveigh can answer that question haha



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