Sage Francis - Human The Death Dance CD
The "Human the Death Dance" CD comes with a 32 page booklet containing the album's lyrics and background stories to the songs. The artwork provided within the booklet are done by Sarah Jane Coleman, Irena Andreic and Drew Speziale.
1) Growing Pains Intro
2) Underground For Dummies
3) Civil Obedience
4) Got Up This Morning
5) Good Fashion
6) Clickety Clack
7) Midgets and Giants
9) High Step
10) Keep Moving
12) Black Out on White Night
13) Hell of a Year
14) Call Me Francois
15) Hoofprints in the Sand
16) Going Back To Rehab
"Human the Death Dance is a document of Sage battling himself - airing out the trials, the misdeeds, and the hopes of the only person he can really trust: himself.
HTDD is an album in two halves, harking back to the two-sided LP classics of yore. The first section is loose and playful, the work of a microphone controller at the top of his form. On tracks like "Civil Obedience" and "Midgets and Giants", we witness Sage in full flight, calling out corporate whores and industry fakers with the kind of virtuoso flows few other rappers can match. The centerpiece is "Got Up This Morning", a smoky back-room blues number featuring the smouldering vocals of Jolie Holland and a relaxed honkytonk beat from Sage's old friend Buck 65. "Clickety Clack" also stands out as a first-half highlight; written in the hours after he was robbed in Amsterdam, this is Sage's revenge fantasy, a darkly baroque account of vigilante justice, and a stinging parody of the mindless thug-rap clogging our airwaves.
The song suite which makes up HTDD's second half is simply devastating, a mini break-up record rooted in Sage's darkest days but suffused with the kind of clear-headed lyrical wisdom that comes around only once a generation. The four best songs of Sage's career are found here, starting with "Keep Moving", which is as mature and respectful a break-up song as you will ever hear. Then there's "Waterline", which evokes the spectre of Hurricane Katrina and its terrible aftermath; "Waterline" is also notable as one of two pieces on the album (the other is "Good Fashion") drawn from the forthcoming soundtrack of director Gavin O'Connor's Pride & Glory, a film starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell.
After "Waterline", we get "Black Out on White Night", a wistful reflection written in the midst of Sage's European tailspin. Here is Sage in the midst of his break-up, half the world away from home, drawing on his poetic reserves to make sense of a romance gone wrong. The album ends with "Going Back to Rehab", an uncompromising look at the rapper's relationship with addiction, and his most complete synthesis of content and form - a song that fuses his richest metaphors with his most stately vocal delivery.
Throughout Human the Death Dance, Sage sustains levels of depth and eloquence that place him in the ranks of the great American lyric writers. In its narrative ambitions, and its stark, often brutal honesty, Sage's writing is wholly out of step with today's musical climate, where young musicians seem afraid to bare themselves to an increasingly cynical public.
Who else besides old-guard warriors like Dylan, Young, Springsteen has the courage to tell the truth? Sage Francis, a man blissfully out of step with his genre, and with his generation.
"I have a great understanding of the power in vulnerability," he says. "The strange thing is that being open and honest is a power move; when you make yourself vulnerable in your music, you're given a greater power than everyone who's trying to hide their vulnerabilities, because you're free to go more places at that point. It just opens up the gates of creativity much wider. As an artist, I have no interest in being cool. All I want is to be honest."
Honestly, then, has he made Human the Death Dance, one of the decade's great rap records." - Epitaph.com