Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Richard Ashcroft 

Human Conditions (Virgin)

Leaning closer to the mystical indulgence of someone like Cat Stevens than to George Harrison's generous spirituality, an entire Richard Ashcroft album feels at times like a long audience with a charismatic zen master. As on Ashcroft's solo debut, Alone With Everybody, Human Conditions offers pearls and puffery alike.

Luckily, the cult-iconic northern Englishman backloads this 11-track collection with brilliance -- those with shorter attention spans can just start at track six, "Science of Silence." The song is well-chosen as the album's first single: Its symphonic hooks and blue-eyed soul harmonies should shut up anyone who finds its refrain -- "We are on a rock, spinning silently" -- a little too grandiloquent. The quiet "Man on a Mission" follows, with ringingly astute lines to rival Verve's signature "Bittersweet Symphony": "When you're runnin' on your own, you ain't like a rolling stone, because a stone will find its place," Ashcroft sings in a croon as sharp as his gaunt features. When Ashcroft comes up with an albumful of hooks as profound as his words, he will have made a masterpiece. Until then, either ready your skip-button finger, or assume the lotus position.

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 news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Andrew Marcus

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

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

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays