Sly and The Family Stone - Life (Classic Funk US 1968)

Senin, 28 Januari 2013

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Bitrate: 256
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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Life is the third studio album by funk/soul band Sly and the Family Stone, released in September 1968 on Epic/CBS Records.

Unlike its predecessor, Dance to the Music, Life was not a commercial success, although it has received mostly positive reviews from music critics over the years. Many of its songs, including "M'Lady", "Fun", "Love City", as well as the title track, became popular staples in the Family Stone's live show. A middle ground between the fiery A Whole New Thing and the more commercial Dance to the Music, Life features very little use of studio effects, and is instead more driven by frontman Sly Stone's compositions. Topics for the album's songs include the dating scene ("Dynamite!", "Chicken", "M'Lady"), groupies ("Jane is a Groupee"), and "plastic" (or "fake") people (the Beatlesque "Plastic Jim"). Of particular note is that the Family Stone's main themes of unity and integration are explored here in several songs ("Fun", "Harmony", "Life", and "Love City"). The next Family Stone LP, Stand!, would focus almost exclusively on these topics.

Just a matter of months after Dance to the Music, Sly & the Family Stone turned around and delivered Life, a record that leapfrogged over its predecessor in terms of accomplishment and achievement. The most noteworthy difference is the heavier reliance on psychedelics and fuzz guitars, plus a sharpening of songcraft that extends to even throwaways like "Chicken." As it turned out, Life didn't have any hits -- the double A-sided single "Life"/"M'Lady" barely cracked the Top 100 -- yet this feels considerably more song-oriented than its predecessor, as each track is a concise slice of tightly wound dance-funk. 

All the more impressive is that the group is able to strut their stuff within this context, trading off vocals and blending into an unstoppable force where it's impossible to separate the instruments, even as they solo. The songwriting might still be perfunctory or derivative in spots -- listen to how they appropriate "Eleanor Rigby" on "Plastic Jim" -- but what's impressive is how even the borrowed or recycled moments sound fresh in context. And then there are the cuts that work on their own, whether it's the aforementioned double-sided single, "Fun," "Dynamite!," or several other cuts here -- these are brilliant, intoxicating slices of funk-pop that get by as much on sound as song, and they're hard to resist. [Wikipedia + AMG]

01."Dynamite!" – 2:46 
02."Chicken" – 2:14 
03."Plastic Jim" – 3:31 
04."Fun" – 2:23 
05."Into My Own Thing" – 2:15 
06."Harmony" – 2:52 
07."Life" – 3:02 
08."Love City" – 2:44 
09."I'm An Animal" – 3:20 
10."M'Lady" – 2:46 
11."Jane is a Groupee" – 2:50 

12."Dynamite" (mono single version) 
13."Seven More Days" (previously unreleased) 
14."Pressure" (previously unreleased) 
15."Sorrow" (previously unreleased) 

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