Album Review: The Revolution Starts Now by Steve Earle
Acceptable, Based on 2 Critics
AllMusic - 70 Based on rating 7/10
Nine years after he returned to active duty in music following a four-year "lost weekend" brought on by drugs and a stay in jail, Steve Earle is not only a stronger and more prolific artist than ever, but he's become nearly as well known for his outspoken political activism as he is for his music. Given this, it's appropriate that The Revolution Starts...Now sounds like a sequel to his previous studio album, 2002's Jerusalem. While Jerusalem explicitly dealt with the fear, paranoia, and political malaise that gripped America after September 11, 2001, The Revolution Starts...Now picks up as America finds itself stuck in an ill-conceived war in Iraq, with a presidential election looming on the horizon.
In a country where you're liable to get lynched if you're suspected of being "unpatriotic", Steve Earle commands respect for standing up and sticking to his leftwing guns, but The Revolution is little more than a crude exercise in Bush-bashing timed for the upcoming US elections. The sleeve note informs us that "American democracy requires constant vigilance to survive and nothing short of total engagement to flourish". No doubt, but that doesn't necessarily make for great songwriting, and there are some real turkeys here.