Release Date: May 15, 2012
Record label: Music for Occupy
This 99-track Occupy benefit shows how far beyond Sixties folk lefty rabble-rousing has come, with hip-hop, electronica and indie rock sitting alongside Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. The comp's high point is unexpectedly ambivalent: the slow-build amp howl of Mogwai’s “Earth Division” leading into the battle rattle of the Occupy Wall Street drummers – a one-two punch designed to strike at the rotten heart of capitalism. Listen to 'Occupy This Album': Related• Photos: Random Notes .
Like the movement it’s supporting, Occupy This Album is massive (99 songs over four discs), eclectic (original hippies Joan Baez and David Crosby sit cross-legged next to noise-mongering weirdos Mogwai and UNKLE), and occasionally hamstrung by the need to get the message across (Richard Barone’s sweet sing-along is torpedoed by its awkward title, ”Hey, Can I Sleep on Your Futon?”). Even when the songs scowl too much, the spirit of the compilation feels more positive than negative — the best that can be asked of any grassroots revolution. B+ Best Tracks:Deborah Harry’s glitchy Safety in NumbersAce Reporter’s propulsive The World Is on Fire .
Oh boy. How can I really review a compilation like Occupy This Album? The project is so massive it’d be impossible to do a track-by-track analysis, and it would be unfair to the multitude of voices heard across these four discs (the digital version adds a bonus fifth disc to bring the song count to, you guessed it, 99) to cherry-pick a few examples and do the typical music critic act of isolating the stylistic elements in each song. Yes, it is physically possible for me to do that; there’s plenty going on in these 99 songs.
With 78 tracks on the physical version and 99 on the digital version, Occupy This Album could very well be the largest compilation since the glory days of the Slap-A-Ham Records Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh compilations. Except instead of cramming countless power-violence greaseballs onto 7-inch records with hand-assembled packaging, the folks at Music For Occupy have a four-disc boxset and 99-track digital release of folk, hip-hop, indie rock and pretty much every other kind of alt-music under the sun to contend with, all with songs related to the Occupy movement and/or how capitalism is the devil. Despite the obvious problems with continuity and flow (not to mention the general concept of time, as in the amount of actual time it takes to comb through 99 tracks), there’s still a lot of good music on Occupy This Album.