â€œHow I Want to Dieâ€ is a mixture of Cookie Monster, Bon Jovi, and a Broadway singer, along fairly impressive instrumentation. I put on this disc expecting drek (like Mizar and Steve Lieberman), especially with Catmanâ€™s braying on about the â€œYahweh chordâ€ and get something that is fairly soulful and catchy. Seriously though, however, Catman needs to stop singing completely; this Cookie Monster, Barry White after 2 packs of cigarettes a day thing really needs to stop, as it does nothing to innovative or further what is actually a solid instrumental album. A track like â€œWishinâ€™ on a Starâ€ sounds like all of the average â€œmodern jazzâ€ that is on the radio. Amy Courtâ€™s vocals, unlike the leader, actually fit into the scheme and plans of Cohen well, making tracks like â€œWe Spoke of Godâ€ feel almost like the best Christian pop, even if the instrumentation on-track is a little slow.
When Catman starts off tracks like â€œFather You Believedâ€, it almost makes any gains made previously by Cohen’s instrumental side dissipate as eir entire demeanor and vocal tenor seems insincere. The emotive content of Cohenâ€™s instrumental tracks like â€œSunset In Last Vegasâ€ rivals that of the fully tricked-out songs on â€œHow I Want To Dieâ€. The disc is innovative, there is no denying it â€“ what is really exciting during â€œHow I Want To Dieâ€ is Cohenâ€™s burning desire to work through any constrictions (working in a pop and rock domain) and make vital, thriving music in genres that were previously thought tapped out. The Carman-esque intensity achieved during â€œA Prayer For Americaâ€ lights up what was previously a sedate (for the most part) CD and really shows that Catmanâ€™s music knows no bounds.
There are moments during â€œHow I Want To Dieâ€ that are amongst the most impressive snippets of music heard this year â€“ for example, take the pseudo-rapping during â€œFamily of Oneâ€. What really distinguishes this album from any other one is a devotion to the creation of good music, the infusion of said music with soul and a political message, and a continually revolutionary view to music that allows for a number of different sounds to be created on this disc. Cohen is Cat Stevens, Warren Zevon, Frank Zappa and a whole slew of other influential singer-songwriters in the American folk tradition. I know that not all of the music on this disc is created with a sound I will like, but I can appreciate the process that puts it on this disc.
Top Tracks: A Prayer for America, Sunset in Las Vegas
Catman Cohen â€“ How I Want To Die / 2005 Self-Released / 14 Tracks / http://www.catmancohen.com / Reviewed 05 April 2005