One Man Revolution review by The Nightwatchman

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  • Released: Apr 24, 2007
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 7.9 (155 votes)
The Nightwatchman: One Man Revolution
9

Sound — 7
When you're politically active, calling yourself the black Robin Hood of 21st century music, you can't play songs about love and self-searching for a long time. Tom Morello wasn't sartisfied with his guitar duties in Audioslave and that made him create his own project The Nightwatchman to express his revolutionary ideas. Of course he wasn't thinking about recording back in 2003 when he started performing in front of small crowds in L.A., but then all of a sudden, three years later there's a whole album with 13 tracks. And no wonder it's called One Man Revolution. It all looks suspicious from the beginning, like the CD cover -- first you look at it and you can't understand what is wrong there. And then you notice it -- it's an acoustic guitar on the shoulder instead of an electric one somewhere around the knees. You would expect something loud from the man behind the Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave riffs and the 26th greatest guitarist of all time (according to Rolling Stone magazine), instead it's all very quiet, simple and folk, stuffed with slogans encouraging people to Stand up and stand strong. Morello decided he doesn't need anybody's help to express himself -- he's proudly alone on the record -- singing, playing guitar and harmonica. The record shares the moods of great sorrow and gritty emotions. The tunes are mostly gloomy with a plain acoustic guitar and eventual whining keyboards. Things get a little more cheerful with the lead single of the album -- The Road I Must Travel, which features a few other instruments apart from guitar. The song would make a good hymn for a Irelish Revolution -- there are army-like drums, country tunes, sing-alone chorus and a very patriotic vibe. Flesh Shapes The Day is almost rock 'n' roll, but without drums and with a few dirty-sounding chords. Both of the tracks show Morello at his best and make the most impressive songs out of the whole album.

Lyrics — 8
Known for his outspoken socialist politics, Morello couldn't avoid social topics on the album. He's sure that the world needs songs of rebellion and revolution right now and that's the main target of the album. With an unhidden hate to billionaires, Morello spits out bitter lyrics and sings sad tails about war with a sorrow in his voice. He's not shy about say who he's blaming in particular. While it's clear who's the main shitty politician, sharing the duties of the president of the USA now, the artist also sings about Colin Powell's lies. Claiming Bruce Springsteen as one of his influences, Morello sings in a similar manner. And it turns out that he's got a deep voice, reach for overtones in the lower notes.

Overall Impression — 7
You're gonna love the album if you're not bored to death after the third song. Sorry to admit it, but it takes a great love for Morello's work and sharing his ideas to listen to the end of the album. Eventually the point of the record is not to attract a huge crowd to the project, but humble attempt to make a revolution for those who needs it. It's about the message that the songs carry and to make the protest lyrics more obvious, the artist didn't vary the music with too many sounds. One Man Revolution is another side of Morello's talent and his guitar skills are just the background here.

72 comments sorted by best / new / date

    kop4
    I didn`t know tom morello is such a great songwriter, the lirycs are really impressive.. I love this project.
    DefJustice
    jb_designs, I'm glad you commented on this because I was probably getting ready to be vulgar. Benny don't degrade other peoples work unless you actually know what your talking about...
    tai1221 wrote: bmac85 wrote: i'm sorry but this album is not good, it so often borders cheesy that i could not take it seriously as a political piece..."on the streets of new york the cabs don't stop, on the street where i live they called the cops, found a noose in my garage how bout that, so tonight i'm in the bushes with a baseball bat"...come on, that's a little lame to be on a title track He wrote that because the part with the noose and the cops really happened to him,if you read the guitar world issue with the beatles sgt.peppers band on the cover.
    chiefmegadeth
    Well i like Morello a little bit,but he always left me wanting a hole lot more. Kind of bored me a lot,tends to play boring riffs but every once in a while he put out a crazy cool solo... he needs to wake us up and stop taking the easy road with he's music,I know he wants to be different but come on. After listening to he's guitar work i always think damn he could of done a way better job.added more stuff to keeps us awake. Fav song RATM Killing in the name of but each to he's own i guess
    ZeppelinFloyd
    Ive heard some of these songs on his website. You can really hear the influences of bob dylan, bruce springsteen, and johnny cash. I love RATM and Audioslave. Tom Morello is a very innovative guitar player. That said, political folk music dosen't rely heavily on the guitar. It focuses more on the lyrics. I don't agree with all of the politcal ideas in his lyrics, but they are still well written. I really want this cd, but I can't find it anywhere!
    jackson guitars
    Tom is a geat guitar player, electric or accustic. I think this is what he has always wanted to do (even though he is a better rock player that folk). He believes this is what he was born to do. If it wasn't for his name (his work with rage and audioslave) i dout any record company would sign him. But hey, my respect for Tom, the greatest guitar player to never expierment wiht drugs. i just hope this doesn't get in the way of Rage getting back together.
    Frusconbage
    Jau_Peacecraft wrote: tom morello and david baksh should be in a group right now. i can't wait to listen ot either's own projects, but brown sound is such a lame name.
    'Brown Sound' is the Name EVH came up with for the certain tone he gets from his guitar, so its actually not that lame.
    mr_michael
    shitty, he sounds like johnny cash or bob dylan...ratm and audioslave are sick, but this isnt good at all
    If you're gonna say this album is shitty, and then say he sounds like Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash, two of the greatest musicians in history, then no one is going to respect your opinion. It would appear that you are a fan of more heavy rock that what is presented here. The album is decent, although he does rely more on the lyrics than the guitar work. But that works for me, the lyrics are more important to me when it comes to politically fueled songs.
    cooljew
    jcthomasva wrote: If Jack Black and Bob Dylan had a love child, and dropped him on his head at birth causing irreversible brain damage, then it would sound like Tom Morello on this album. I watched some of these "performances" and laughed my ass off at how bad they were. I can't even say I was impressed with the guitar work. I can't figure what Morello is so pissed off about. If he wasn't cashing in on his tenure with RATM and Audioslave no self-respecting record company would produce this childish drivel.
    Tom Morello is the most innovative and talented guitarists of the present day, The man has political opinions that he is entitled to and thats what he's voicing on this album. Have you noticed that America is the ****ing laughingstock of the world right now, Morello has, he's ****ing pissed off about it and so am I. You should choke to death while sucking on w/e emo bands dick you listen to. And not disrespect a man who is only trying to make the world a better place. P.S. The album kicks ****ing ass.
    jb_designs
    bennyb0y wrote: Oh god... I love audioslave, so that's what made me pick up this album. But what a mistake, like someone said before me, it almost sounds childish. Anyway he has good intentions, but the acoustic isn't for him (in my opinion). PS: am I the only one here that thinks every song sounds the same?
    He writes like all of his riffs on the very acoustic he plays at the nightwatchman gigs, but folk does have a tendency to get a little repeditive, especially if your not listening to the words or don't agree with, or grasp the message.
    dudebud
    JilaX^ wrote: good review! I'm defineayley going to check this album out However even just referring to the Roling Stones best guitarist list makes me lose respect for you.=/
    haha. that list was pitiful but this review is wonderful.
    Vornik
    Why is it so hard for so many of you to understand that this is folk music, not rock and roll or metal? God damnit, don't expect two hand tapping and sweeping arpeggios on a folk album. If you don't like it fine, don't listen to it.
    bennyb0y
    Oh god... I love audioslave, so that's what made me pick up this album. But what a mistake, like someone said before me, it almost sounds childish. Anyway he has good intentions, but the acoustic isn't for him (in my opinion). PS: am I the only one here that thinks every song sounds the same?
    mitchwatters19
    shitty, he sounds like johnny cash or bob dylan...ratm and audioslave are sick, but this isnt good at all
    daytripper75
    good review. i havent had a chance to get the album yet, but i will soon. ive heard a few of the songs, and they sound great. Morello is awesome.
    JMcCarthy
    "cooljew" and I are obviously in total agreement with jcthomasva's "opinion". and like that kid wrote, a person's opinion is that of his/her own's. Keep it that way! And too bad I don't want aynone's respect in saying the nightwatchman is good shit. I'm glad most of you agree!
    Second Rate
    cooljew, you kinda went to crap there towards the end. As far as Morello being pissed about the state of the current political system. He complained when the liberals had control of the white house too. He bitches for the sake of bitching. While jcthomasva... or however you spell it.... was a little incoherent with his opinion there... i would have to agree with him that Morello's lyrics are a little childish. He reminds me of those kids i went to high school with that were stuck on rage against the machine. They hate the government, but can't ever seem to give a reason why. He's no Bob Dylan.
    Learn_to_fly
    blackphoenix86 wrote: Why does everybody always have to get in a huge battle of who can outsmart the other when it comes to opinion. Opinion is exactly what it is, Opinion. The one thing I find funny is for some reason people find it necessary to not only say they may hate the album but to rip Tom Morello a new hole. Tom Morello has long been a pissed off grass roots political activist. He's just using another form of music to express his personal convictions. Personally I take this album as a decent effort by a great guitarist who is trying to really tone down the distortion and fury and reach those who may not be a fan of the loud in your face RATM. Think of this album as more of a personal spoken conversation with Morello where the lyrics tell the story while the guitar is only the backup leading you along. Everybody says they expect amazing riffs coming from Morello, but once again this isnt Rage or Audioslave. Give the man credit where credit is due but dont complete destroy a man and his character just so you can put yourself on the higher platform. Great album or not Tom Morello has worked hard to be where he is and to have a chance to make an album like this. How many other Metal guitarist do you know who can pull this kind of stuff off and not get laughed at. Im sure as I post this someone is going to find something awful to say and call me an ass or something of that sort. Call me whatever you want but Im not here to act like a 6 year old. Im only 18 but Im smart enough to understand what artists have to do to earn that respect. I may not like everything out on the market but its not my place to call someone terrible when they put their heart into a project. On the other hand I cant defend cookie cutter crap boy bands like backstreet boys, but thats a whole other topic. Anyways music is music; either its good or its not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should leave it at that. There are a lot more important issues in life other than if you feel Tom Morello is a good guitarist, SO GROW UP.
    nice. tom morello f teh w!
    Zakk Mylde
    guitarpalooz wrote: Tom Morello hates billionaires? Wow, i'm sure he's really strapped for cash himself.
    Haha! Hilarious!
    Zakk Mylde
    cooljew wrote: Tom Morello is the most innovative and talented guitarists of the present day, The man has political opinions that he is entitled to and thats what he's voicing on this album. Have you noticed that America is the ****ing laughingstock of the world right now, Morello has, he's ****ing pissed off about it and so am I. You should choke to death while sucking on w/e emo bands dick you listen to. And not disrespect a man who is only trying to make the world a better place. P.S. The album kicks ****ing ass.
    Haha! America isn't the laughing stock of the world right now. Tom Morello is voicing his opinion against the corrupt systems and people in America (many bands do this and have done this in the past) and I'm sure it helps people on a small scale to realize what is really going on, but he sure isn't saving the world. Save the World? Are we all gonna die or something? P.S. I don't mean to get political or nothing but America rules and if you don't like it then get out!
    wood_e_Dean
    Yeah man, Tom Morello ****ing rep. Were performing Killing In The Name Of, tomorrow night, personally i'd say RATM is Morello at his best. Havent heard anything from this album yet but im sure it'll be great nonetheless.
    original=punk
    yes, this is awsome! i've always loved Morello for being such a badass. and i've been looking for a good modern folk artist! i love the music! *listens to it right now*
    Cobalt Blue
    Surprisingly decent album. he sounds kind of like James Hetfield when he sings mellow.. you know like the beginning of Unforgiven II.
    rustymoore91
    His voice surprised me, i thought he'd sound like a school boy bitch but he doesn't. His voice is like Mark Knopfler's.
    mercurymay
    somewhere around the knees
    ... knowing Morello, it would be somewhere around the chest.
    DefJustice
    The guitar is nylon, thats where the tone comes from. The entire album strictly focues on the message of the lyrics, not how agressive that message is presented.
    atelecasterpimp
    Did not like it at all. I don't recall any good melody, and I did not like the tone of his guitar. He should stick to electric guitar and not singing. His voice sounds like a kid trying to talk with a deep voice to impress a girl.
    MotorbreathX
    While I respect the fact he made this album and his intentions, I couldn't take it very serious and didn't like it too much. Just my opinion.
    Burpin'Worm
    chearn I really hope "your an idoit" was an attempt at humour... Either way, stop flaming each other, you can disagree without name-calling.
    chearn
    Why dont some people uderstand this is Folk music not metal so the music will be a slower/acustic one, which means no crazy rifts or sick solos. Also Tom Morello worked hard to make this album and personally I think people like jcthomasva and mitchwatters19 are *****s for disrespecing his music. Commenting on mitchwatters19 comment Johny Cash and Bob Dylan are two of the worlds greatests musical artists... YOUR AN IDOIT!!!
    metalfan#3
    blackphoenix86 wrote: Why does everybody always have to get in a huge battle of who can outsmart the other when it comes to opinion. Opinion is exactly what it is, Opinion. The one thing I find funny is for some reason people find it necessary to not only say they may hate the album but to rip Tom Morello a new hole. Tom Morello has long been a pissed off grass roots political activist. He's just using another form of music to express his personal convictions. Personally I take this album as a decent effort by a great guitarist who is trying to really tone down the distortion and fury and reach those who may not be a fan of the loud in your face RATM. Think of this album as more of a personal spoken conversation with Morello where the lyrics tell the story while the guitar is only the backup leading you along. Everybody says they expect amazing riffs coming from Morello, but once again this isnt Rage or Audioslave. Give the man credit where credit is due but dont complete destroy a man and his character just so you can put yourself on the higher platform. Great album or not Tom Morello has worked hard to be where he is and to have a chance to make an album like this. How many other Metal guitarist do you know who can pull this kind of stuff off and not get laughed at. Im sure as I post this someone is going to find something awful to say and call me an ass or something of that sort. Call me whatever you want but Im not here to act like a 6 year old. Im only 18 but Im smart enough to understand what artists have to do to earn that respect. I may not like everything out on the market but its not my place to call someone terrible when they put their heart into a project. On the other hand I cant defend cookie cutter crap boy bands like backstreet boys, but thats a whole other topic. Anyways music is music; either its good or its not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should leave it at that. There are a lot more important issues in life other than if you feel Tom Morello is a good guitarist, SO GROW UP.
    Holy crap dude, I've ben waiting for someone to say that since I joined here. Some people just don't understand opinion.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    tom morello and david baksh should be in a group right now. i can't wait to listen ot either's own projects, but brown sound is such a lame name.
    econoline
    jcthomasva wrote: If Jack Black and Bob Dylan had a love child, and dropped him on his head at birth causing irreversible brain damage, then it would sound like Tom Morello on this album. I watched some of these "performances" and laughed my ass off at how bad they were. I can't even say I was impressed with the guitar work. I can't figure what Morello is so pissed off about. If he wasn't cashing in on his tenure with RATM and Audioslave no self-respecting record company would produce this childish drivel.
    i dig how you are trying to sound very enlightened... but in somewhat agreement this is a weak effort in my opinion, but then again he isdoing something whole-heartedly so kudos to him
    jcthomasva
    If Jack Black and Bob Dylan had a love child, and dropped him on his head at birth causing irreversible brain damage, then it would sound like Tom Morello on this album. I watched some of these "performances" and laughed my ass off at how bad they were. I can't even say I was impressed with the guitar work. I can't figure what Morello is so pissed off about. If he wasn't cashing in on his tenure with RATM and Audioslave no self-respecting record company would produce this childish drivel.
    tai1221
    bmac85 wrote: i'm sorry but this album is not good, it so often borders cheesy that i could not take it seriously as a political piece..."on the streets of new york the cabs don't stop, on the street where i live they called the cops, found a noose in my garage how bout that, so tonight i'm in the bushes with a baseball bat"...come on, that's a little lame to be on a title track
    He wrote that because the part with the noose and the cops really happened to him,if you read the guitar world issue with the beatles sgt.peppers band on the cover.
    cmsurvive11
    Very impressive work by our generations best guitarist, a great side of Tom we haven't seen, its folk rock so i wasnt to suprised to see no solo's in the songs, but for this music its not needed.
    troyponce
    I'm in general agreement. The album is decent, and has some pretty catchy sections.
    bmac85
    i'm sorry but this album is not good, it so often borders cheesy that i could not take it seriously as a political piece..."on the streets of new york the cabs don't stop, on the street where i live they called the cops, found a noose in my garage how bout that, so tonight i'm in the bushes with a baseball bat"...come on, that's a little lame to be on a title track
    JilaX^
    good review! I'm defineayley going to check this album out However even just referring to the Roling Stones best guitarist list makes me lose respect for you.=/
    Cobalt Blue
    i heard a poor review of this on the radio.. but he said if you listen to it a few times you get into it. and yeah Tom would never have his guitar close to his knee's. he wears his guitar extreamly high.
    Gibson__SG
    i think his work with ratm and audioslave was better, but it's good that he shows another side of himself
    John W
    The album is great but a lot different from the other side of Tom Morello
    rotpaw
    I agree with tdrules. Morello has always played guitar somewhat Beatles style, not musically, but in the sense that he's almost being choked by his own guitar because it's so close to his neck!
    tdrules
    i doubt tom morello would have an electric guitar "somewhere around the knees". Btw "no one left" is a great track