John Raymond Pollard | Passion, Poison, and Politik

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United States - NY - New York City

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Pop: Folky Pop Folk: Political Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Passion, Poison, and Politik

by John Raymond Pollard

World pop. Poetic lyrics, a temperamental voice, and beautiful arrangements. Some sounds mesmerize and entrance; others move listeners to dance. Songs explore the passions, poisons, and politics that inform relationships.
Genre: Pop: Folky Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Static
4:48 $0.99
2. Chambers
3:53 $0.99
3. Holding
3:30 $0.99
4. Lies
3:44 $0.99
5. White Down Comforter
3:00 $0.99
6. The Biggest Fool of All
2:35 $0.99
7. Quicksand
3:58 $0.99
8. Re-Membered
0:37 $0.99
9. The Government's Got You
4:56 $0.99
10. Poison
6:18 $0.99
11. Enchantment
4:36 $0.99
12. Angels Watch Over
4:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Great album!" Micah Solomon (President, Oasis CD)

"Wonderful music!!" J.L. Bueno, radio show host Cadiz, Spain

"Pollard's vocal style and poetry share the integral qualities that make Canadian Leonard Cohen so popular with generations of listeners around the world...One listen has you convinced that you'd like to hear more" John Frame,FM102.1, Brisbane, Australia.

"...wonderful CD... lyrics have something (many things) to say... truly exquisite production. The CD sounds like a million bucks. " Mitch Gallob, Streeter Music

Throughout Passion, Poison, and Politik words, melodies, and rhythms weave together as do the passions, poisons, and politics of human relationships.

Listeners traverse various historical settings from ancient Greece through the middle ages to contemporary times. They ride an ever changing array of rhythms - Indian, bossa nova, and those more familiar to American listeners: folk, rock, and even a country waltz. Some sounds mesmerize and entrance; others move listeners to dance.

Passions move to various rhythms in John's songs. Holding is a compelling bossa nova on which Elie Massias and his band supplement John's voice and guitar with bass, drums, and guitar. Steve Sandberg's soulfully plays wind synthesizer, and Frank Colon's percussion moves listeners to samba. Quicksand mesmerizes as traditional Indian rhythms pulsing from tablas add to the dreamy, hypnotic quality created by acoustic bass, guitars, cello, and a phased Rhodes keyboard. A party-like arrangement of bass harmonica, harmonica, piano, and guitars set off Lies' insightful lyrics. The Biggest Fool of All is a country waltz.

Passion, Poison, and Politik tells new stories and reinterprets old myths. Poison, an intriguing tale laced with revenge, depicts the brutal conquest of an new world tribe by Europeans. Chambers, a retelling of the Princess and the Pea, shines against a beautifully arranged melody. We join Jason and Medea in the realm of Greek mythology via Re-Membered. White Down Comforter alludes to another Greek myth, Leda and the Swan.

The Government's Got You delivers a clear, political message, "get out and vote and take back the state." The final song, Angels Watch Over, completed in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, affirms that "We could build paradise..."

First-rate lyrics blended with memorable melodies, an array of rhythms, and first rate musicianship afford a thought provoking and satisfying listening experience.



to write a review

Jed Ryan

John Raymond Pollard's second CD is called "Passion, Poison, & Politik"... and this talented artist delivers all three to the listener. Pollard does this through his unique vocal style, a flawless array of musicians, and lyrics that are both intelligent and provocative. The first time I saw and heard John Raymond Pollard was at the Outmusic open mic at the C-Note in October 2003, where he did a guitar-and-vocals performance of a new song presumably entitled "Dubya", with audience participation. The crowd-pleasing tune was an unambiguous ode to our beloved (ahem...) leader. Yet, as intensely as Pollard can deliver a political message through music, he transmits the same passion when he sings about the unparalleled joy of being in love with "Static", casting a spell on a romantic interest with the delightful "Enchanted", or offering hope to post-September 11th America with "Angels Watch Over".

John Raymond Pollard has one of the most distinctive voices I've heard in a long time. There's an intense honesty as well as an aura of desire and longing in his voz that permeate every track on the CD. As a result, the collection of love songs on "Passion, Poison, & Politik" come across as incredibly personal, intimate, and eloquent. The first track, "Static"-- described on Pollard's website as "a declaration of love in an interracial relationship"-- is intensely heartfelt, rich, and exhilarating, with energetic music and some genuinely moving lyrics: "It's rare to meet a person who has such a subtle grace, It shows illumination in a glow that charms your face." "Chambers", the second track, is a different kind of love song with a gentler musical style, softer vocal delivery, and some impressive violin work. This is one of the tracks in which Pollard, who wrote all the lyrics on the CD, expresses his apparent fondness for Middle Ages-style fantasy as well as medieval and ancient Greek stories: recurrent themes on the CD. His message seems to be that human emotions and experiences haven't really changed much throughout history, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Track 3, "Holding", incorporates a tropical melody and a more sensual vocal delivery. The vulnerablity in Pollard's voice makes him perfectly suited to sing about the pain of loneliness in "White Down Comforter", which he delivers with a longing, soulful quality. Keeping in pace with the new generation of musicians that defy classification into only one genre, Pollard's music is multifaceted, incorporating elements of pop, folk, and more exotic aspects of world music. "Quicksand" incorporates Indian rhythms for a hypnotic, almost ethereal effect. The CD also treats the listener to bossa nova-- a style of popular Brazilian music derived from the samba. No doubt, this is the influence of the time which Pollard has spent in Brazil. The variety continues with the distinctively classic country flavor of "The Biggest Fool of All"; and "Lies"-- with harmonica, guitar, and piano-- sounds like an old-time saloon song with some priceless and catchy lyrics: "Lies... are acid rain, are like a train, like junkies' veins, infused with pain, gunk in a drain...". Starting with the first track right on through to the end, "Passion, Poison, & Politik" boasts an wide variety of instruments and supremely expert musicians playing them. One of these musicians, Frank Colon, is credited with playing 20 (!) instruments on the CD, including bongos, castanets, congas, wind chimes, and some much rarer music tools.

So much for "Passion"! Polack gets "Politik"-al and explores some sensitive isues with "The Government's Got You": a poetic, knowing exploration of the new age of tyranny that we're currently living in. This somber tune just couldn't be more timely. Pollard combines an appropriately haunting vocal delivery with lyrics like: "You just lost your right to die, Your right to live, Your right to decide." and the penetrating chorus of "The government's got you, the government's got you..." Pollard reminds us: "You better wake up before it's too late, and get out and vote, and take back the state..." Pollard leaves us with a slightly stripped-down melody for "Angels Watch Over", a poignant piece which offers a brave message of hope and plea for peace for both himself and the rest of the world in these tense, terror-minded times.

"Passion, Poison, & Politik" is a mix of intoxicating love songs, storytelling, and both direct and indirect commentary on our increasingly reactionary society. On my favorite song on the CD, "Enchantment", Pollard explores the possibility of using magic to bewitch a potential love interest: "Shall I make a potion, wish upon the moon; Apprentice with a sorcerer to learn what to do? I see a key is alchemy; now I shall start, To unlock a mystery of love you guard in your heart." We have little doubt that Pollard's prospective lover will be spellbound. The listener of "Passion, Poison, & Politik" will no doubt experience a similar effect!