Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Billy Bragg 

Mr. Love & Justice (Anti-)


No matter what he does, Billy Bragg will always be seen as an activist-musician — emphasis on the first half of that equation. This ignores the fact that the guy to whom he's most often compared, Woody Guthrie, wrote plenty of songs — some of which Bragg brought to life with Wilco on a pair of acclaimed CDs — about life and love and even flying saucers. It's a point worth recalling as Bragg releases his first album in six years — one that finds its primary inspiration in home and hearth. Bragg's penchant for the personal has been a staple of his repertoire since he surfaced in the early '80s as an angry young man, armed with only an electric guitar. These heart songs are preferable to Mr. Love & Justice's political ruminations, which range from the labored (the anti-war "Sing Their Souls Back Home") to the ill-advised ("The Johnny Carcinogenic Show," an anti-tobacco indictment that might cause you to take up smoking in protest). With soulful Americana backing his cockney bark, songs like "I Almost Killed You" and "M for Me" reveal that Bragg's gift for clever wordplay and catchy tunes is as potent as ever.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of CD Review

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays
  • Ryan Sickler @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Dec. 9
  • Sebastian Maniscalco @ Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

    • Thu., Dec. 9

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation