Idol Chatter

annwilsonpicforidolchatter.jpgWhile I am somewhat of a fan of the music group Heart, I haven’t exactly ever found myself to be a fan of political protest songs in general–which poses a bit of a conundrum regarding Ann Wilson’s first solo effort, “Hope and Glory” Such a title might lead one to think that Wilson was taking a more inspirational, spiritual turn musically, but instead Wilson has joined a slew of other artists who have recently released socially conscious efforts meant to be a mirror of our times.
Trying to give a new spin to various classic protest songs of the 60s and 70s in particular, Wilson pairs with various other artists ( which lends some confusion to the idea this is a solo effort) from the likes of Alison Krauss to country singer Gretchen Wilson. However, “Hope and Glory” ends up sounding merely derivative of songs that–in some cases–weren’t that spectacular to begin with.

While I did find the Ann Wilson/Gretchen Wilson match-up on “Bad Moon Rising” fun, certainly the bigger duet mismatches on “Hope and Glory” include her duet with Elton John on “Where to Now St. Peter” and with Wynonna Judd on “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”
In other cases, however, if if the duet match would have been ideal, it is the song choices that don’t work. I am not sure anyone has a fond attachment for Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” or the Youngbloods’ “Darkness Darkness.”
But “Hope and Glory” is not without a couple of shining moments. The one original Wilson song, “Little Problems Little Lies,” is a more poetic look at the legacy of war. And perhaps the best song on the album is, not surprisingly, a remake of a Bob Dylan song,” A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” which imagines the fallout of nuclear war. In light of more recent events, it could also be seen as the fallout of the destruction of our planet in other ways.
Still the heavy-handed tone of the recording as a whole is tough for listeners like me to move past, and is probably better appreciated by those whose political leanings line-up a little more with Wilson.

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