The man who gave a generation a voice against global injustice and countless hours of great music both on his own and as a lead singer of the Boomtown Rats is set to release another solo album titled How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell. The formula is simple really. Lead an extraordinary life lending your passions to better the world then write an introspective album full of interesting prose and distinguished musicianship. Part folk, part punk, part 80s revival, Bob Geldof flies the gamut with his latest and the result is a substantial album from start to finish.
‘How I Roll’ begins with a twangy tremolo guitar which serves to introduce the demons from within Geldof’s soul. He looks at his position amongst the world around him which is filled with “people everywhere living lies without mercy or pity”. It is clear from the opening 3 minutes Geldof sings with passion and he is not content to rest on his laurels.
After the soft bluesy intro, Geldof provides a punch with ‘Blowfish’ throwing his voice through a megaphone effect while adding thunderous drums and crunchy guitars to the mix. Turn this one loud, take the grills of your speakers and watch the fun your woofer is having. File this one under bluesy-punk on steroids.
‘She’s a Lover’ introduces more of a mature adult oriented sound with lyrics indicative of a seasoned pro. “She’s a lover and she fits inside my head / She’s a lover but there’s nothing happening in my bed”. ‘To Live in Love’ has a Mediterranean coffee shop feel all the while demonstrating a voice battered from shouting out against governments yet still expressive and ardent. ‘Silly Pretty Little Thing’ picks up the mood with the only danceable rhythm on the album coupled with more of an uplifting message, a funk like interlude and a synth-string motif primed to get stuck in your head. ‘Mary Says’ eerily sounds like a Crosby Stills Nash and Young Melody; beautiful lyrics and hauntingly memorable melodies sung across organic accompaniment.
The mark of a complete album combines excellent story telling, great musical arrangement and lack of any filler. How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell never strays from greatness and the final track finishes with what is sure to become a highlight for many. ‘Here’s to You’ is a grandiose melody made sharper with a slide guitar complementing the tune. The song features a full orchestra of rock instrumentation with a beautiful chorus. Keep the track rolling after the final seconds and we get the comical ‘Young and Sober’; a life summary skipping ten years at a time complete with spoons, a bouncy piano and a bit of self deprecating Irish humor.
How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell is a much deeper record than the title might have you believe. Themes of love, religion, society, and introspection permeate the lyrics which are thoughtful in delivery. The musical style is not relegated to a single genre, but rather demonstrates the talent and artistic creativity that is still seems bottled up inside of Geldof after all these years.