Tag Archives: Shooter Jennings


Review – The songs of “Black Ribbons”: Part 1

One of the best albums to come out this year is “Black Ribbons” by Hierophant.  It’s a deeply layered examination about the nature of truth in the world, and what really matters at the end of the day.  In my review of the album, I talked about its overall themes and message.  I pointed out that, like most brilliant art, it should experienced and interpreted by each listener – allowing your own worldview and inherent biases to shape the ultimate value that you derive from the work.

This time around, I want to dive a little more deeply in to each song, and share my experience with, and interpretation of, each of them.  In part one, I’ll analyze the first 12 tracks on the album.  Shooter has said in interviews that this is a “loose concept album”, and not every song directly ties to the overt messages of the album.  He told theboot.com:

I knew I wasn’t gonna write an album about a blind kid playing pinball. It wasn’t gonna be something where each song had to deal with this topic. It was gonna be more about this personality that was on the radio, and these songs were gonna be the catalog of material by this band. So it relieved me of having to feel, not that it was actually ever an issue because I went into it with certain songs that were personal and all that, but I didn’t feel pressured to make it all tie together. But I had a handful of songs that had this social commentary and I knew that they were gonna be the ones that Will o’ the Wisp introduced.

With that in mind, I’ll share my thoughts on each song, and how they either directly drive the underlying narrative of “Black Ribbons”, or indirectly move the story forward by their soul and story.  When all is said and done, however, I encourage you to listen to them for yourself.  Think about them.  Form your own opinions.  Let me know what YOU hear in these songs.  After all, thinking for yourself is the best way to live your life, and it’s the best way to enjoy “Black Ribbons”.


Review – “Black Ribbons” by Shooter Jennings and Hierophant

“Black Ribbons” is the latest album from Shooter Jennings and his new band Hierophant.  It is a richly constructed musical exposition about a fictional, yet not wholly impossible, future America, which has fallen under the rule of fascist oppression.  With censorship as the order of the day, it is a dystopian view of the world that we could be headed towards – a world where they have lost the idea of who they are; where they have lost the ability to tell fact from fiction – or speech from propaganda.  It is a gray world, with little hope of getting brighter, and it’s brought brilliantly to life by Hierophant.


“Black Ribbons” – Initial Thoughts

I’ve been listening to the new Shooter Jennings / Hierophant album “Black Ribbons” alot over the last few days.  It’s a very infectious piece of work, unlike anything I’ve heard from Shooter in the past.  It’s part Pink Floyd, part Shooter Jennings, part Queensryche – part a lot of things (it also features Stephen King as a late night talk radio host – Will-O-The-Wisp).  All of those pieces come together to form a concept album in the vein of “The Wall” or “Operation Mindcrime”.  I don’t agree with the politics of the story (and it’s very political) but there is no denying the artistry and passion that went in to making this album.  The music grabbed me from the first track, and then swerved it’s way through amalgamation of styles and attitudes, that all just seemed to work together in just the right way.  I’m going to take a few more days to try and really wrap my head around this album, but I highly recommend it.  It’s an ambitious attempt at making a musical statement – and it works.  I’ll  have a review posted in the next few days.

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