A Review of Gil Scott-Heron’s “I’m New Here”

Gil Scott-Heron's album "I'm New Here" was released February 8th.

Gil Scott-Heron, by way of his new album, successfully gets his listeners to understand right off the bat that he has been around the block a few times; he has seen things that have hardened him, he is worn out, but he ain’t going nowhere. His new album I’m New Here, released Feb. 8, is something of an ingenious verbal oil spill, raw, messy, moody and poetic. The entire album, only 28 minutes in length, alternates between music and lyrics, dramatic interludes and, essentially, the recited monologues and deep, dark laments of Scott-Heron. He provides his listeners with quite the eclectic mix, as the album is a compilation of casual chatting, occasional singing, frequent laughter, heavy poetry, sincere praise and thanks and, at times, even some intense and questionable mumbling.

Scott-Heron lays down a mean track to start the mood off right, in his introduction, “On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 1),” sampling Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” Yet, while using the same background music, Scott-Heron chooses to touch upon slightly heavier subject matters than that of dear Mr. West, speaking of what he believes has made him a real man, instead of his life’s trials and tribulations . FYI, while listening to this one, don’t be surprised if you begin to feel like a wide-eyed grandchild at the foot of a rocking chair, listening to the reflections and accounts of good ol’ grandpa.

Yeah, sure, he laments and speaks of his struggles, but Heron also offers some pretty useful advice on this album, like to love your parents; they are wise, so treat them right. Thank you, Scott-Heron. Although he is calloused and raw in his delivery, the album in its entirety is pretty heartfelt and eloquent at its core. A favorite track on the album, “Me And The Devil,” has an urban flare and a soulful sound in the way that it mixes instrumental reverberations, a consistent rhythmic clapping to keep the beat and a real steady flow. This raspy success comes to an abrupt halt with one hard slam on the ivory keys.

He finishes strong with a follow up of his opening, “On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 2),” another Scott-Heron soliloquy, spoken over that same background music. Thank you, Gil Scott-Heron, for your honesty, your raw monologues and for telling us how to treat our parents right. But, a special thanks goes out to you Kanye, for being a good sport and letting Gil Scott-Heron finish what it is he set out to do. Bravo.

– Sarah Pacitti

Gil Scott-Heron

“On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 1)

01 On Coming From A Broken Home (Part 1)

“Me and the Devil”

02 Me And The Devil

“On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 2)”

15 On Coming From A Broken Home (Part 2)