Bob Geldof's Latest Chronicles His Inner Struggle with Life
Bob Geldof, "Sex, Age & Death" (Koch)
Anyone following Bob Geldof's career well knows its extreme peaks and valleys outside the studio - from championing African famine relief to mourning the overdose of his ex-wife Paula Yates and her lover, INXS singer Michael Hutchence. After nine years, Geldof has re-emerged with an album that sounds as harrowing as his biography. For someone who once portrayed Roger Waters' tortured nemesis in Pink Floyd's "The Wall," Geldof does not sound like he's acting. The naked emotions borne on these 12 songs are uncomfortable but don't beg for pity, either.
Even though there is not much to curl up with, the album goes on a journey spiked with upheaval. Geldof makes obvious overtures to his conflicted feelings towards Yates and Hutchence, but even if you weren't aware of the backdrop, it's hard not to flinch. On a song like "Inside Your Head," Geldof sings "what the (expletive's) going on inside your head?," and sounds like he's clutching a dead friend's bloody shirt collar.
Some songs fall completely apart and then rebuild from scratch, cased in theatrical ambient noise. In modes ranging from bluesy pop to techno, Geldof doesn't turn his back on the inner nightmares we saw him confront in "The Wall" - in fact, some songs sound like that epic's lost tracks. But on this prickly re-emergence, he strikes a balance between honest confession with the dignity of moving on.
Bob Geldof plays the Park West in Chicago on Tuesday. See Concert Picks.
- Mark Guarino
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