Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ballad of New York City

I was first exposed to the Fun Lovin' Criminals at  U2 concert. While only a three-man band, they had huge sound. Three Rivers Stadium was the first place I ever heard their jazzy, hip hop love songs to New York City. And this was the first song I heard by them, their namesake song, Fun Lovin' Criminals.
 Huey Morgan, Brian Leiser and Steve Borgovini formed the band in 1993 and found their way into the UK and US charts with a song about lead man Huey's ultimatum by a judge: Marines or jail time. Huey joined our military.  
Their first album Come Find Yourself, contained fifteen songs about graffiti, John Gotti, New York City sounds, smells, and life. Songs like We Have All the Time in the World and I Can't Get With That were slow and mellow jazzy tunes, while Passive/Aggression and this one, arguably their most infamous, Scooby Snacks were harder and a pre-cursor to the gritty sound of their follow up album: 100% Colombian.
100% Colombian was the first time I heard the word bodega. An 18 year old in PA doesn't typically hear that word so, confusion set in. Oh, it's a Korean deli - gotcha. That's the one thing I love about FLC, they love New York - even the bad, grungy side. Songs like 10th Street and Southside aren't pretty - but their accurate portrayals of life on the dark side.
Mark Reid replaced Steve (by Steve) and they released the album Loco - with some more smooth songs. Their next album Welcome to Poppy's wasn't their best of releases - so we'll just move right along. Livin' in the City, again is another love ballad to the City they love.
But, do yourselves a favor, if you're not too much into the hip hop, grungy sound of the FLC, check out their bassist / keyboardist, Brian "Fast" Leiser. These are some smooth, jazz, lounge sounds that you'll appreciate:

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