No one in the world wanted Tom Morello’s solo project One Man Revolution to kick ass more than me. Ever since the first time I saw Morello pound and tweak his guitar to nearly divine proportions at the Warfield in San Francisco with Rage Against The Machine, I have been hooked on everything he has done. What is there not to like: an articulate, intelligent social activist with revolutionary politics who graduated from Harvard, who has done more to revolutionize the guitar than anyone since Jimi Hendrix! In short Tom Morello is one of my heros.
When I heard that he was releasing a solo project under the moniker The Nightwatchman I was elated. In a time of political apathy, what could be more necessary than a collection of folk inspired acoustic political anthems? I was hoping for thirteen songs I would love, but this is not the case.
This album is embarrassingly bad. The lyrics are simple to the point of being comical; one would expect more from a person who must be as well read as Morello. His voice sounds like he is doing a satirical impersonation of Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash. It sounds so stiff and forced that one thinks that he is laughing after every take. The die-hard fan, and yes I think I am one, could argue that however pedantic and predictable his lyrics are, and however forced his voice sounds, that at least his intentions are good. Maybe the thousands of meathead assholes who listen to Rage could learn a thing or two about labor unions, but for anyone who has a clue about the state of the world, this album is a forced political statement. It is obvious that only the choir to which he is preaching will buy this album and unfortunately we expect more.
I love Morrello and will continue to support whatever he does, so let me finish by saying that the last three songs on the album are actually pretty good. In these songs he is actually singing and allowing his voice to not sound so artificial. The highlight of the album has to be the song No One Left. There are many other, better written reviews on the web, so I will stop. Thank god Rage Against the Machine is back together at least for now. Crank up that guitar and bring on the next Bombtrack!