Be More Like Me

David Clement

(S22962)

Wild Monk Records
200 E. 10th St. Suite 477
New York, NY 10003
(wildmonk@aol.com)

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwartz@oeb.harvard.edu)

David Clement brings the political sensibilities of the folk music of the sixties, to the pointed anger of the contemporary alternative rock scene. Clement quietly, but insistently introduces us to his world, both political and personal. He is an out, and out front, proud, militant gay man, challenging others within the gay community to express themselves openly. Like Ani DiFranco, he does not shy away from the harsh realities of prejudice, disenfranchisement, anger and fear. All of this is accomplished with a soft voice and gifted, contemporary guitar style.

In the opening, almost tender melody of "Be More Like Me," Clement urges us to "fight for brotherhood of man; kill your exes with the other hand; hide the bodies in a tree; be more like me." This could be the anthem of a gay political group like ACT-UP, which fights for the rights of those who are HIV-positive. The sweet, soft sound of the music provides an ironic accompaniment for Clement's hard-hitting lyrics.

"Objectify Me" has a pulsing, bass guitar sound proudly proclaiming the power of sexuality and lust. "Eat It" features a lovely folk-rock guitar that accompanies a clear, strong voice in a vivid, frank discussion of gay male love in the Nineties. His characters are proud, strong, loving, lustful, but haunted by the specter of AIDS and loss. The difficulties and frailties of love and loving are detailed in "Broken." "Angry Young Fag" begins with a series of soft guitar chords, which lead us to a more insistent, driving guitar sound, and then lulls us back into the quiet of the opening chords. That is, until we again listen to the lyrics, which are in your face, queer and proud. An up front, forceful sexuality drives the electric guitar in "The Big O." A tale of a man with two lovers, neither of whom completely fulfills him, is detailed in "Perfect Compliment Lament." "Live It Up," with its lovely, forlorn guitar, speaks to the loneliness and alienation of sex. "Foundry" is a rock lament, with a hard-edged beat, taunting a friend to deal with his fear of who he really is. "Old Men" stares down the future of old age and death coming around much too soon, accompanied by the church sounds of an organ playing in the background. The futility of keeping on informs the soft, prayer-like sound of "From Here," that simply fades away at song's end.

David Clement forges ahead with a brave, new, in your face sound and lyrical style, which puts the politics and sexuality of gay men on the musical map. He accompanies himself with a smooth, accomplished folk-rock sound on the acoustic guitar. Clement uses both contemporary folk and alternative rock styles to invent a new sound, which can soothe like a lullaby, and incite one to anger, often at the same time. David Clement, like the Nields and Ani DiFranco before him, sets the stage for acoustic music as we move into the next century.

Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.

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