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K’naan's 'Country, God or the Girl' LP

K'naan Country, God or the Girl, his third LP, is more inward-looking than its predecessors and deals with more personal themes of love and heartbreak.


“I was a seed/planted by lovers in a refugee camp/Then overseas, I grew free/Out grew my roots and I became a tree/So now they’ll never cut me down” Somali-born troubadour K’naan sings on the defiant reggae-rock opener "The Seed." Triumphing over dispiriting odds is a theme that threads through K’naan’s music as much as it does through his life. Born in Mogadishu in 1978 he left his home country in 1991 as it plunged deeper into chaos. Those grim early childhood experiences provided the socio-political consciousness and the soul-fire channeled into his highly-regarded debut The Dusty Foot Philosopher (2005) and its follow-up Troubadour (2009).

Country, God or the Girl, his third full-length album, is more inward-looking than its predecessors and deals with more personal themes of love and heartbreak; a change in creative direction spurned by the breakdown of his marriage in 2010.  “I thought we had an ‘at last love’, Etta James/But now I’m wondering” he muses on the commercial radio-wired "Hurt Me Tomorrow" (below).  “Shattered glass on the floor/feel my pain now remorse” he croons on the Eurobeat groove ‘The sound of my breaking heart." It's melancholy recycled into introspective pop music.

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Still, Country, God or the Girl has its weak moments; in part stemming from the global-block buster success of "Waving Flag" — an accomplishment that would not have gone unnoticed by the number counters at the label.  Some tracks on Country, God or the Girl -— like the Nelly Furtado-assisted "Is There Anybody Out There?" – are too brazen in their hankering for radio spins they come off as too contrived.  Missteps aside though, K’naan is too good a songwriter to nestle in the mundane simplicity of commercial pop music.  “I've been running out of my 70 excuses/there comes a point when patience can’t take all these abuses/Now my reserves are empty /I’m feeling kind of low/cause when do you fight for someone/and when do you let them go” he sings on the album-standout ballad featuring U2 front man Bono.  Such fine writing abounds on Country, God or the Girl yet it would be disingenuous to say that the album represents K'naan's finest hour.

>>>Grab K'naan's Country, God or the Girl LP

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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