I’m not going to start this review with one of those paragraphs that introduces Sage Francis or tells where he is from or everything he has done so far. If you still don’t know by now, you are kindly requested to leave.
What I will break down is his new album “A Healthy Distrust” released this month on Epitaph Records. Yeah that’s right, Epitaph. A punk label. But only a punk will start talking shit as if Sage sold out. That is definitely not the case here.
So I opened up the packaging and inserted the CD in my stereo. I have to tell you, I was an avid listener of Personal Journals and every other album Sage has unofficially released over the years including “Dead Poet” and the “Sick of….” series. The long wait for the next “real” album was agonizingly difficult, and I just hoped that it would pay off.
….(couple of hours later in the real world)…
The album finished playing and I just sat there… The disappointment hit me really hard. I couldn’t believe how Sage made such an album after an underground classic like Personal Journals. I let the CD sit there for a couple of days. I didn’t want to look at it.
….(two days later)….
The days passed and I wanted to give the album another try. Thinking in the meantime, I came up with a couple of theories. First of all, you cannot listen to “A Healthy Distrust” and await a “Personal Journals”. It doesn’t work like that. That’s not the point…. hold on.. That is EXACTLY the point… I mean, you can’t make another Personal Journals. Personal Journals IS Personal Journals and it should not be touched anymore. Only an idiot would buy an album and hope that its exactly the same as the last one. First of all, that’s not only being unrealistic, but its also disrespecting the artist. Im 100% sure that Sage could have easily pulled off a PJ2, but what would be the point? With this new record, Sage has proven something very important. He has truly become a musician. His music goes beyond the underground rap norm of sampled loops and boring drums. This is the whole meal and the cream dessert afterwards.
I decided to re-listen the album with the new mind frame, and let myself be open to a more “new” Sage. It worked miracles. The production on the album is simply amazing The highlight of the album is definitely “Bridle.” I just wished that this track would go on longer. I don’t care if it’s a second, minute, or an hour. I just want it to go on. My second personal favorite “Sea Lion” which features Will Oldham. I don’t think that I have ever heard a chorus like this in a rap song before…. You see, I could go on and on about this album and write a breakdown of every track but who the hell am I to do that? I could easily praise the hell out of every song on this 48 minute ride of emotions. This is one of those albums that you need to buy and digest. Love it or love it more, this is an evolved Sage Francis that could put him in line with the rap legends. Yeah I said it. And don’t give me that “the album is weak, Personal Journals was better” crap.. because that’s what your argument is.. Crap… You can’t compare apples and oranges, and this is a passion fruit only found on the rare places of earth.
Sage is (finally) blowing up and its great to see an artist at its peak when they start penetrating the mainstream. Many underground cats live their greatest days in the shadows and lack the passion when they hit it with the big audience. Once again, Sage proves that he is not a one day fly.
More info: http://www.sagefrancis.net
01. The Buzz Kill
02. Sea Lion
03. Gunz Yo
04. Escape Artist
05. Product Placement
06. Voice Mail Bomb Threat
07. Dance Monkey
08. Sun vs. Moon
09. Agony In Her Body
11. Ground Control
12. Lie Detector Test
14. Slow Down Ghandi
15. Jah Didn’t Kill Johnny