First, put the politics aside: Leyla McCalla is a master at blending genres and sounds to create a truly unique experience on every piece of music she has been a part of. The Capitalist Blues succeeds in having so many different musical ideas mesh so well into a cohesive unit where the upbeat laments feel just right alongside the slower and more deliberate pieces. It’s an album at the right pace and the right time.
Thematically, as noted: I don’t agree with the message. But when we have an era of truly cringeworthy protest anthems and political music, it is worth noting that McCalla succeeds in making music with meaning worth listening to. The desired tone is struck perfectly, and it ultimately becomes one of those unforgettable albums I kept going back to all year long.
Songs of note: “The Capitalist Blues,” “Lavi Vye Neg,” “Aleppo”