Life’s A Ride – Donna the Buffalo
Wildlife Records 01204-2
Life may be a ride according to Donna the Buffalo, but to me their new album is like a car crash. I’m not joking. I listened to Life’s A Ride several times, and each time I grew more and more enraged. Why did I get so enraged? Let me explain.
The first thing I do every morning when I get up (well, I should really say every afternoon when I get up) is calculate how many hours I’ll have to listen to music. The past month I’ve been dealing with end-of-the-semester projects, terrified about graduating college and fighting a losing battle with my sanity; suffice it to say, I’ve needed music more than ever. Of course, I’m playing mostly sad music, reflective of the state I’m in. Some days, I’ll feel confused and I’ll listen to some Electric Masada. The one thing I refused to listen to was overtly happy, unrealistic, hippie-utopian, content-with-middle-of-the-road lifestyle music. Unfortunately, I had to when I received Life’s A Ride. And to cancel out your thoughts of bias let me point out to you that I listened to it four times, each under different emotional situations and circumstances.
In the CD booklet there are numerous praises of the band’s ability to fuse genres, ie. zydeco, country, reggae. There is a damn good reason why those specific genres aren’t usually seen together: because it doesn’t sound cohesive. I find each of those genres pretty difficult to listen to in a singular way, putting them together is like having Ben Harper co-bill with Trey Anastasio (hehehe). It just isn’t right!
To give you a taste of my disdain let me quote the lyrics of the track "Blue Skies": "My, my, my. Everybody gets high off love, love, love."
First off, we’re living in tumultuous times where our country is split in two over our government, our military presence in the Middle East is expanding faster than Michael Jackson’s guilt, and the "jamband" community is still pouting selfishly and profusely over the demise of Phish. I don’t see everybody getting high off love; I’m seeing people getting high off of pharmaceuticals, various hallucinogens, other illicit concoctions and negative energy. I think Donna the Buffalo needs to leave their quaint upstate New York environment and visit the real world stat. Unless, that is, they plan on playing strictly raves where everybody thinks they’re high off love.
I have a few words of advice for Donna the Buffalo. First off, keyboardist Kathy Zeigler should lay off the sustained Hammond notes. Second: listen to Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks for an example of how to fuse various genres more tastefully.
I usually try to find at least some good in all of the music I listen to. I’m disappointed to have to tell you that I didn’t find one thing that interested me remotely on Life’s a Ride