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Track Review: Dirty Projectors "Rise Above"

When news broke that the Dirty Projectors impending album, Rise Above, would seek to reinterpret Black Flag's punk landmark Damaged entirely from memory, the concept was lauded but perhaps not carefully considered. What charm there is in the original album depends on the adrenaline rush of its juvenile righteousness. The lyrical content is effectively angry, but half baked. Slowing it down and adding more accomplished musicianship sounds interesting in theory, but doesn't make the words magically deep.
The Projectors' take on the signature protest "Rise Above" excises the fist pounding entirely, turning it into a creeping avant soul number. Dave Longstreth's quaking croon stretches most lines to exhaustion, rounding up and deporting each and every bark. Partial compensation is provided by moments when the backing female vocals provide disarming beauty. But without an attempt to bestow any real urgency, the wild transformation seems more like an empty gesture than an thematically illuminating exercise.
Tour Dates - Art in Manila to tour U.S. Album Announcement, Black Dice, Eric Copeland Black Dice roll out solo, full band CDs
Dirty Projectors
Track Review

I don't think you fully comprehend the power and beauty of this track. It has brought me to tears a few times. When Longstreth sings "woah" at 01:38 the world could end!!!

Dave Coulier

Didn't bring me to tears, but I did like this track. Has anyone seen him/them live lately? I was real mixed when I saw them about 2 years ago at Pianos.

Dave Park

I dunno, I'm just not convinced it totally works. Starting from a decidedly non Rollins fan place might not help me "get" it, but I really don't think there's that much to get...

Jeff Klingman

The original is fantastic. I'd love to hear the two back to back.


At least Longstreth and Co. don't go the straight irony route, a la those sweet indie rock versions of gangsta rap tunes.And Dave I saw them a couple years ago right as New Attitude EP was about to come out, and they were amazing.

Etan Rosenbloom

this site is a poor man's pitchfork, you guys had better get on board before it's too late...


Hmm, what were you doing right there, Nicky S.? Commenting? Can you do that on Pitchfork?So tell us again what exactly we're getting on board with...

John Zeiss

the site reminds me more of a poor man's all hip hop. they're like 5 years behind with it.

Yung Daba

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