Album Reviews

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citizen cope

Every Waking Moment

2006-09-23

Back under the name Citizen Cope, Clarence Greenwood has written and produced his third release, Every Waking Moment, which is overflowing with his “gift” to music lovers. Clarence grew up listening to radio and records in awe, determined that what he was hearing was the direct result of being “ordained,” perceiving it as magic, not understanding how a sound coming out of speakers could make him feel things he couldn’t explain. But what’s clear when you listen to Citizen Cope’s own music now, years after he sat transfixed in front of his stereo, is that he is ordained. Or touched. Or blessed. Or however you want to say it. The man has the gift, and he wants to share it with you. It’s never been more evident as on Every Waking Moment, his third album (second by RCA.) If you’ve heard any of Cope’s work in the past few years, you already know how quickly he can paint a masterpiece with the lightest brushstrokes. He takes snapshots of the world around him, and turns them into universal truths. He sets them to the simplest of melodies, and weds those in turn to the most soul-stirring grooves. What he puts into his music is his whole life: Born in Memphis, lots of time in a small town in Texas with an aunt and uncle, a year in Mississippi, up to Washington D.C. with his mother and sister, and plenty of time moving alone signing with different record labels until finally settling with RCA. All throughout, the music he heard in these places was his escape. Surviving a lonely, unsettling existence, away from the ones he loved, Cope sheds tears of his challenges that are evident in the songwriting of his latest release Every Waking Moment. The album’s title track will move you in a way a child in awe is, watching a magician capture audiences with the simplest card trick. The lyric less instrumental 10 “Awe” has the bass line from a giant; and upbeat 1 “Back Together,” 3 “Friendly Fire,” and 5 “Brother Lee,” pick you off the ground and make you want to move. Other tracks that rip your heart open and sew it back together are 4 “More than it Seems,” 6 “107°,” and 11 “Left for Dead.” Cope makes it clear that the things that tie us all together are stronger than the things that tear us apart, as he chants in his nearly hypnotic smoky, soulful voice.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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