Exclusive Daily Download: "New England," Billy Bragg


Salon Staff
March 27, 2006 1:01PM (UTC)

Although Billy Bragg is in some ways the archetypal modern political musician, listening through his best work, much of which is collected together on the new box set from Yep Roc, "Volume 1," is a reminder that Bragg is often at his best when the subject of his songs isn't overtly political -- especially early in his career, when everything about his performance style, from the baldly crude solo electric guitar to the foghorn bellow of a voice to the exaggerated Cockney accent, was in some way already a political statement. "New England" is from his very first solo release, the 1983 EP "Life's a Riot," and it's a classic Bragg tune, sweet and awkward and biting, a wordy, heartbroken love song fueled by a punk energy.

-- T.B.

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