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Poe’s Debut Album Worth a Listen

This week’s album review is, Hello by Poe. Hello is Poe’s debut album, and was produced in a variety of studios, including one in Detroit and multiple in L.A. This album was released in October of 1995, it is  41 minutes long. The genre is hard to work out, but according to a little research it falls under the categories of alternative rock, trip hop, and R&B. The album emotionally, is very angry under a mellow exterior. Like when you hear a happy song that’s actually sad when you listen to the lyrics. In this case it’s a chill album that’s angry when you analyze it. For being released in 1995, I’d say this album is slightly ahead of its time. While alt rock and hip hop/r&b were all popular at the time, Poe was one of the first to combine it all. The only artist I have ever heard that is remotely comparable to Poe is Luscious Jackson but they aren’t nearly as good.

This album is very experimental. I hear funky basslines mixed with random noises (like a modem). I hear vocals produced to sound like they are on a bad camcorder or something. I hear backing vocals integrated to sound like instruments themselves. Then I hear the song “That Day”, which is more of a spoken word poem-like song. I usually do NOT dig any spoken word but this one was just musical enough for me to dig it. The messages Poe has hidden in their lyrics seem like they were controversial for the time, because other artists such as Fiona Apple or Tori Amos were also making music with similar messages. Poe is ruthless with their lyricism. Using lines like, “your legs feel like sandpaper you can’t do anything right”, “Called my mother, said Hi. What I meant to say was Why’s your life a joke?”, “I hope one day you call up your father and you have the guts to tell him how he hurt you and how he made you hurt another, because it makes me sad.” All of these lines were obviously crafted by someone who has had to struggle in their past. I just love all the different techno noises Poe uses as well. Its sound like a lot of their tracks were heavily made on a soundboard.

Usually I don’t really dig any R&B or rap or anything, but this album is just so tasteful. I love how it sound, I love how it feels, and I love it’s messages. This album is probably one of my favorites with a female lead. It’s definitely stand out compared to other “angry girl music” because I can listen to it and think about things other than how the lead hates men. I understand societal misogyny and all, but I hate music where the gist is just loud guitars and a girl screaming “I HATE MEN SOO MUCH.” This album was just a good listen all around and I would rate it a 9/10. Love this album and would recommend it to anyone as long as they are okay with experimental music.

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