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Fun Lovin' Criminals - Livin In The City


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 and co.

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 same'.

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 rhythm.

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.

 

Track listing:
1. I Love Living In The City
2. How It Be
3. That Ain’t Right
4. The Preacher
5. Where Do I Begin
6. Is Ya Alright
7. Gave Up On God
8. City Boy
9. Girl With The Scar
10. Mi Corazon
11. Will I Be Ready

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