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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

John Reuben -- The Boy Vs. the Cynic

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The Boy Vs. the Cynic takes John Rebuen's rap-music in a more rock-oriented direction. Lyrically, The Boy Vs. the Cynic is a direct response to Reuben's previous album, Professional Rapper. Some people felt that Professional Rapper took Reuben in too dark a direction. The Boy Vs. the Cynic draws a dark line between Reuben's serious and lighter sides. Ironically, though, this album is quite far from half and half. The darker, introspective side of Reuben has about 3/4 prominence here, and even the brighter songs, such as "Sunshine," seem to admit they are only a respite from the more difficult sections. This might be Reuben at his most lyrically difficult, as well, as he takes on hipsters, blind-followers, consumerism, marketing, the abandonment of the poor, the marginalization of American Indians, man-children, and himself.
Ignore the truth and neglect your responsibility/Because you can't decipher the real world from your hobbies/This whole starving artist shtick you've been running with is wearing thin/Put it to an end and grow old gracefully is a verse I wish I'd embraced half a decade ago. This album is full of hard truths, but Reuben also refuses to become the Cynic in the title of the album, despite all the difficult lines.
"What's left, except regret and heartache?/And yes, your heart will break and go numb/Lots of times before this life is done/You'll look for answers, but there's just one/Patience, one day it will make sense/But waiting is a pinch waking you up/From the worlds you've made up/The one where you dream, and the one where you gave up/Time to create a new atmosphere/Where the boy and the cynic can both play fair."

If I have one knock against The Boy Vs. the Cynic, it's that I don't think it has the kind of major standouts Professional Rapper did (I'm thinking of "Move," "Life Is Short," "I Haven't Been Myself," "Time to Leave," etc.). It's just solidly good from start to finish. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

2005 Gotee
1. Out of Control 3:50
2. Nuisance" (featuring Matthew Thiessen of Relient K) 3:37
3. Chapter I 2:49
4. Follow Your Leader 3:10
5. Sales Pitch 3:45
6. Sunshine 3:21
7. So Glad (featuring Tim Skipper of House of Heroes) 3:12
8. What About Them? 3:49
9. There's Only Forgiveness 4:07
10. All I Have 3:54
11. Cooperate 3:30
12. The Boy vs. The Cynic 6:19

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