Review: Jack Foley
THE Fun Lovin' Criminals follow in the footsteps of The Beastie
Boys' To The 5 Boroughs
LP by devoting an album entirely to New York City, the city they
live in and love.
The result - called Livin' In The City - is as vibrant
and eclectic as the Big Apple itself, packed with 11 great songs
that reflect life in the city as seen through the eyes of Huey
The album opens with I Love Livin' In The City, a typically
hip piece of smooth talking that contains a catchy chorus and
foot-tapping vibe worthy of representing NYC itself.
As Howie states: "It's about how I love livin' in the city,
cause I do. But not for all the touristy bits - the nice cultural
things. I like that it's kind of fucked up. You know, I think
that appeals to people about New York."
The 'fucked up' feeling is reflected in some of the lyrics, with
the downbeat The Preacher, a particularly telling example.
It still contains a smooth hip-hop style but contains lyrics
such as 'my heart is filled with pain, New York City just aint
The sentiment is no doubt one shared by many New Yorkers in light
of the 9/11 attrocities of 2001 even though the city remains one
of the premier venues in the world.
The really great thing about Livin' In The City, however, is
that it's not an ode to NYC that's covered in rose-tinted specs;
it reflects the good and the bad of big city life.
The rocky Is Ya Alright alludes to 'the babies on the
block and the killers on the corner' and is just over two minutes
of pure urban attitude.
While the summer-tinged Mi Corazon contains a distinctly
Latino vibe that is great for shuffling along to, while tipping
its hat to the cultural diversity in terms of introducing a new
The song is actually a loosely-based autobiographical story about
a girl Huey loved but who no longer loves him and is another highlight.
The piano-laden Gave Up On God represents one of several
quieter moments, during which Huey and co take a more intimate
look at the choices facing New Yorkers on a daily basis.
It's poignant and really worth giving your full attention to,
as is Where Do I Begin?, which was born out of 'all the
weird things that go on in New York'.
Says Huey: "I was by myself and all my boys were out of
town and I realised my only friend in the town was the town itself.
So this is dedicated to the city."
Further highlights include the old-school hip-hop influenced
City Boy and the seductive hip-hop grooves of Girl
With The Scar, which is quite simply enchanting.
Put together, Livin' In The City marks a really terrific
album that fully does justice to one of the greatest cities in
the world. It's a major triumph for those Fun Lovin' Criminals.