My thoughts on Gentlemen at 21 and The Afghan Whigs. ~Rynda
The Afghan Whigs returned in 2012 to continue the relationship with the dedicated fans who stayed enamored during the band’s long break, which thankfully, was never a break-up. As fans, we have experienced every gut-wrenching lyric, every dark foreboding feeling, and every celebration of the sensuality of life expressed so intensely by an artist that will always be our one true dark love. The Afghan Whigs are known for songs about self-examination, brutal honesty, storytelling, drama, love and sexuality all wrapped into one beautiful ongoing musical relationship. No one quite grabs the intensity of feeling lyrically like Greg Dulli. Nor is there another person that can transform a cover song into his own unique vision until it’s ghost is still there but it is no longer recognizable simply because it has been infused by his energy.It doesn’t matter where we are in our lives there is an Afghan Whigs song that matches it. We opened Up In It, became a part of the Congregation, cried to Gentlemen, stepped into the light during Black Love and danced a sexy groove to 1965.
Just in time to save us from our adult selves, The Afghan Whigs continued their legacy with the 2014 release of Do To The Beast. Like us they have grown more wise and morphed into the present moment with an album as full of intricacies as our own psyche. Do To The Beast surprises at every listen and sinks deeper and deeper into the corners of the soul, shedding light on things we don’t want to see but won’t dare to turn away from. It is a journey between dark and light with the ever present feeling that Greg Dulli is once again saying out loud what we cannot.
Now, twenty-one years later, like an old flame coming back into our lives, we will see the reissue of Gentlemen.
We remember bits and pieces of the joys of life, the first meeting, the first kiss, the moments when everything seemed perfect. We also remember the feelings that ripped our heart out for the first time, or maybe the second and third time, or maybe just last week. Anyone who has listened to and really heard Gentlemen gets transported back to those moments the second the first note of every song starts. It’s that good, that deep, that moving, that honest. Lyrically expressed like no other, a foreshadowing cover photograph and the music resonating with high emotional frequency, this album is the perfect evocation of the divine chaos and downfall of love. It is not nostalgia that makes us feel this way, this album is now embedded in our subconscious and has become part of our DNA. Gentlemen at 21 is a like a journal that we may have re-read many times over the years, but now, like little love letters lost and found, there is more to explore. It is as if a box full of souvenirs is being set in our lap and if we choose we can cathartically relive every one of those moments slightly different than the hundreds of thousands of times we listened before. We will also find upon further self-examination that even if our lives have changed drastically in twenty-one years, the core of what brought us to embrace Gentlemen is still in our heart and in our head, it’s in in our love and in our bed.
I am honored every day to work with these gentlemen and truly grateful they have become life-long friends.
October 27th, 2014