Album Notes - Bartees Strange - Live Forever

Dispatches from the Highlands

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Two weeks ago I wrote that Album Notes ventured into uncharted geographical locations. Today, that again holds true, albeit through a more refined, closer-to-home filter: Bartees Strange takes us on our maiden voyage to Oklahoma. While the artist left the rural/suburban town of Mustang following his formative years to head to the more culturally fertile East Coast, the experience of growing up Black in Oklahoma colors the foundation of Live Forever, a 36-minute dynamo.

Bartees Cox Jr. delivers one of the more enticing albums of 2020, dripping with emotion that evokes sentiments ranging from Ben Harper to Bon Iver, TV on the Radio to whatever subgenres of hip hop are applicable. Live Forever is constant, captivating intrigue, a play that is among the most dynamic, stylistically diverse records of the year. The icing on the cake: it's his debut. Live forever, Bartees.

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