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Floating – Greg Trooper

Sugar Hill Records 1075
Greg Trooper’s brilliance comes from his refusal to write trite songs with
complete patterns. He relishes lifes complexities and dissonance. While
strained metaphors and conflicting allusions have become his lyrical aids on
his latest release Floating, paradox informs his songs.
"The Road So Long," becomes a swirling domain of personal conflicts: of lost
love, of lost God, and of lost world. Eddies of gospel infused Hammond B-3
chords meld with the concepts and then suddenly conflict with Trooper’s
means of discovery. He runs with God, the gypsy, superstition, and nature,
but whatever he wants, no longer can be found. None of these other people or
omnipotent powers can serve the same purpose. What exactly gospel and
religion represent by the song’s conclusion remains mystifying. And if
Trooper’s voice didn’t sound so pure, so wistful, like a more wondrous Steve
Earle, he would come across as a cynical Nietzschean in his ramblings of
Because of these conflicts, strange notions become adumbrated throughout the
album. Muhammad Ali serves as a metaphor for humanity’s need to discover
inner-pride. Thus, exuberant hubris offers a path for each person’s inner
achievements. While the river where one’s childhood reveries occurred, as
explored on the title track, becomes the same river where a maimed body was
ditched. An immanent memory carries warmth, but the image of drained veins
and an etiolated body resting on the riversides rocks contends another
element of the same scene.
Maybe it is too easy to say Trooper sees this paradoxical river as symbolic
of our existence. The metaphor has become clichmade otiose via Buddhist
sutras and the American literary canon. But Trooper’s river could probably
pass for the one Faulkner mentioned in A Light in August: Not some theory
of water being able to pass over and through any surface, but about our own
lives being equal parts beauty and disturbing cultural dissidence. Such
literary content by Trooper carries immediate impact in the swollen world of
the singer-songwriter simply because it doesn’t offer an aphorism in a turn
of melody.

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