Lillian Allen - Anxiety

Lillian Allen - Anxiety
ANXIETY – expresses the Anxiety of the population of Earth, from 2012 – 2013
Lilliann Allen is the godmother of dub lyricism, with an ability to transport minds through portals created with the aid of looping effects, onomatopoeia and her voice. I am of Jamaican and Haitian origin, and have experienced my cultural roots up front and personal. Ms Allen takes me right back to them.
 
The album’s title track took me on a journey to the end of my childhood back to the Kumina* circle, where drums and rhythmic voices could hypnotize practitioners into trances.  Then my heart starts pounding, the world seems that much smaller, and I experience vividly the anxiety she speaks of.
 
Between the student strike that lasted the better part of a year, the shootings in movie cinemas, elementary schools, she irrevocably captures the feelings many have had about the last and the upcoming year. Stating “We’re all anxious for a change, transformation…” she connects the dots between continents, islands, miles of land and seawater. It’s as if she speaks in the voice of our world.
 
Then with the track Black Voice, she jumps into an eighty-five Delorean and journeys back to music I used to hear as a child: Third World, Bob Marley when he was still with the Wailers, and many other artists that I have naively forgotten. The music has your head bobbing, feeling like you’re on a natural high induced only by voices. 
 
The strongest tracks are those which feature looping effects more prominently. I am not sure Allen is making us of the same particular gadget, but I have seen the likes of poet Moe Clark using a looping pedal to make her performances pop. With indie musicians like Imogen Heap, Final Fantasy and Andrew Bird popularizing its use, this looping technique is an appropriately trendy choice for Allen to use in commenting on the zeitgeist.  The layering and repetition of sound and voice mimics the myriad repetitious voices of mass media, but also warms my soul— and terrifies me to my core.
 
I keep hearing her interlude saying “We anxious for redressed equality and opportunities…” and it makes me wonder, am I equal? Do I have opportunities? And then I listen some more…
 
 

*Kumina is an Afro-Jamaican religion influenced mainly by the Bantu peoples from the Congo-Angola area. Kumina refers to both a religion and dance. Dances include the Bailo, mainly used for entertainment purposes and the Country, used during the private religious ceremonies. 

Lillian Allen - Anxiety
Lillian Allen - Anxiety