Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Bargain Basement
Music DVD
Send Us Mail
Contact Us

T-Bone Burnett
The True False Identity
Columbia/ DMZ

When whomever said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture," s/he must have had an album like T-Bone Burnett's The True False Identity in mind. Equal parts acid rock, blues, rockabilly, avant-garde, and some other genre that has yet to be defined, The True False Identity finds Burnett contemplating the political and the personal through "art of the state" and "poems of the evening." The former encompasses the first half of the album, allowing Burnett's social criticism and heavier musical influences to come to the fore, while the latter features a mellower, more mournful tone. But, even this distinction is unsatisfactory when discussing The True False Identity. In reality, Burnett's first album in fourteen years is rife with social commentary and religious allusions, with infectious hooks and experimentation.

The album's opener "Zombieland" is an anti-establishment, anti-government diatribe featuring ferocious bass and percussive accompaniment. "Palestine, Texas" is equally intense both musically and lyrically, this time incorporating gritty guitar riffs into the heavy rhythm section along with apocalyptic, almost spoken word lyrics that roll and rhyme from Burnett's mouth in a meter worthy of hip-hop. "Seven Times Hotter Than Fire," by contrast, finds Burnett and guitarist Marc Ribot cranking up their guitar amps to produce a pure acid rock love song.

"There Would Be Hell To Pay" provides a marked contrast to the initial tracks. A rolling, blues-infused ballad, "There Would Be Hell To Pay" finds Burnett spinning morality tales of murder and mayhem. "Every Time I Feel The Shift" begins with Burnett's cynical assertion that "If we were to pass an eleventh commandment in twenty years people would be shocked to learn that there had once been only ten and wouldn't care if there had been." The following "I'm Going On A Long Journey Never to Return" is a rousing neo-rockabilly anti-love song, which facilitates an easy segue into the "poems of the evening" section of the CD.

"Poem Of The Evening: Hollywood Mecca of the Movies" marks the beginning of the dirges dedicated to everything from love to the Iraq War. "Poem Of The Evening: Hollywood Mecca of the Movies" is an acoustic guitar-driven ballad that provides commentary not only on Hollywood (as the title suggests) but on popular culture in the United States, as well, while "Fear Country" features a mellow reverb guitar riff and lyrics about the Bush administration's use of money, lies, and intimidation to maintain power. "Baby, Don't Say You Love Me" picks up the pace a bit, with a crunching, yet melodious, guitar riff; driving, playful rhythm; and lyrics about lost love.

"Earlier Baghdad" finds Burnett moving back into haunting lamentations - this time with lyrics about betrayal and the downfall of organized religion. "Blinded By The Darkness," meanwhile, is another journey into heavy acid rock with lyrics about the merging of church and state. The final track, "Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled," finds Burnett questioning his faith, in God, mankind, and government.

Through all of the musical genres and lyrical themes Burnett samples on The True False Identity, the album inexplicably works as a whole, melding religious, social, political, and personal diatribes, as well as seemingly disparate musical influences, into twelve non-linear, yet irresistible, tracks. The True False Identity is easily one of the most enticingly complex CDs of 2006.

-Tracy M. Rogers

Track List:
1. Zombieland
2. Palestine Texas
3. Seven Times Hotter Than Fire
4. There Would Be Hell To Pay
5. Every Time I Feel The Shift
6. I'm Going On A Long Journey Never To Return
7. Hollywood Mecca Of The Movies
8. Fear Country
9. Baby Don't You Say You Love Me
10. Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)
11. Blinded By The Darkness
12. Shaken Rattled And Rolled

Check out more reviews

Talk Back
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!


Mike Doughty

none now

South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

Rachel Fredrickson

Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo

Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.