Monday, August 15

My Soul As A CD

The Score is not a must-hear CD. Nor is it one that everyone can relate to. And that is why I believe it is me, as a CD.

Released in February of 1996, this album featured a radioactive collaboration of the talents of Wylcef Jean, Lauren Hill, and Pras--united for a cause under the name, The Fugees. It allows people to feel, with all their senses, the world most of us have been fortunate enough to not know. The reality of refugees.

The album is not just outspoken; It gives life to what often remain stories from the inner cities. It communicates with words and bittersweet music, unlike any other album had done before.

Each track paints a picture, then puts the listener right in the center. It's difficult to describe any one of their songs with a word or two, because the best characteristic about The Fugees' work is that they present ideologically diverse perceptions of a situation per song. The album does not give the conventional version of how the black man is held down. It puts the listener in his shoes, his heart and mind--regardless of the condition of the shoes, the vindictive tendencies of the heart, and the doubts that consume the mind.

My favorite trait about this album is that it does not gloss over any subject it touches. Most artists can make a profit by painting black and white pictures--that parents don't understand, that minorities are disadvantaged, that women are oppressed, that you'll always love her, no matter how many times she cheats on you cuz you're feelin real love. The Fugees, however, draw a picture with all its flaws, its mismatched colors, its varying depths. It shows that even if there is a good side and a bad side, the players playing the game will always find both sides as a part of themselves. They show that reality is not simple, that what you think may only be perception. But that shouldn't keep you from listening, from seeing the world we call reality.

I wouldn't go around recommending this CD to everyone--not everyone responds to what it communicates. For instance, my favorite track is "Mister Mister." It's very short, with little music in the background. The poem is an exchange between a beggar and a stranger. One may say that it promotes mistrust of the homeless and severely impoverished--that it discourages compassion and humanitarianism. Or, perhaps, it may illustrate the frustrating conundrum that haunts our societies and those members of our societies addicted to substance abuse. It may represent hopelessness, or it may inspire compassionate activism to fight the epidemics taking over the lives of our fellow human beings. And to some, the track may just be a few minutes of profanity.

I remember when my dad bought The Score for me; I was ten years old. The only song I really wanted to hear was "Killing Me Softly." (It was on KISS FM day and night.) My dad didn't know The Fugees were rappers, so he was a bit shocked to hear the rest of the CD. He had, however, loved "Killing Me Softly," the original, done by Roberta Flack. (He let me listen to Flack's cassette; I liked The Fugees' version a lot better.)

Listening to the album for the first time, I was left speechless. Most of the ideas they presented seemed like things I would never completely understand. I still don't think I'll ever do justice to the album as a listener, but I have certainly grown ideologically listening to The Score over the past nine years.

In conclusion, true art can inspire...It can motivate us to learn about ourselves as members of society, as human beings capable of acts of both compassion and aggression. The Fugees' The Score is a work of paintings that give us the opportunity to see our own reflections in ways we may not have ever imagined.


Ramla said...

Wasssuuup pelvical twin! I mean salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi ta'lla wa barkatuhu ya ukhti. Wow, I never realized how much you liked the fugees! Your post reminds me of the first time I listened to rage against the machine. Very interesting. I like how we've been through these really interesting phases around the same time, but in different parts of the world and without knowledge of each other's existence. Like our move from California to stupid little towns somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Our crazy immigrant parents and our even crazier brothers. Being thrown into amcc being all confused, and also perhaps the two REALLY weird ones. We are pelvical twins indeed. Ma'Salaam my love!

Rayan said...

You should definitely check out Lauryn Hill's Unplugged DVD, and i emphasize, DVD not CD. It is such an amazing, human-like setting with raw emotions all along the show, especially, during "I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind". She sings her heart out in that song and towards the ending of it she totally loses it and starts crying.

I'd strongly recommend it.