Tuesday, November 19, 2013

4 of 1001 Songs: Gil Scott-Heron's Me and the Devil

It's the first time I can remember hearing music from a spoken word artist. Gil Scott-Heron had a classic voicing to provide to the times. There is something about this song that is very dark, and in a way sad. I believe what Heron was struggling with while releasing this album the song was from, I'm New Here", makes the theme just seem sadder.

History: Me and the Devil was the only single that Heron released from his last album. In this one song you can here the reflections of his own struggle with his addictions. . The sound in this song also is mixed in a way that I haven't heard before. It's obvious that Heron is a jazz or blues artist from his voicing. It's very soulful. The background instrumentals depart from his usual genre though into something that is more electronic.

Vocals: Heron's vocals aren't really singing in this tune. I mean they are, but they stay in one tone throughout with a lot of emotion in them. That is what I found impressive. How Heron is able to express his emotions without forcing it in his vocals. The backing music lets his vocals flow. I also liked how his vocals still sound classic.

Instrumentals: The instrumentals I would have preferred being more on the acoustic or jazz side. It works for this tune, and it follows the pacing of his vocals well, but it also gets repetitive. For a man with such an emotional voicing the music never matches it all the way through. Then again it does allow his vocals to be highlighted instead of the music. It makes it easier for the lyrics to be spoken, and put more focus on the spotlight of his emotions.

Lyrics: The lyrics were really depressing. I understand that most humans realize the state of their condition as sometimes bad. The lyrics present a terrifying reality that the singer is just going to be walking with the Devil into death though. In a way the song sounds like an acceptance of death for Heron, but he also seems to be burdened by who he is in life to the point he has become more apathetic to it.

Me and the Devil just overall isn't a very cheery song. It's something that looks at the darker nature of a human. Considering how Heron's life was in 2010, only a year before he died, it makes sense as to why he might have the feelings he did about himself. The acceptance of his fate though is what is eerie to me in the tune though.

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