The Richest Man in Babylon (album)

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This article is about the album by Thievery Corporation. For the book by George Samuel Clason, see The Richest Man in Babylon (book).
The Richest Man in Babylon
Studio album by Thievery Corporation
Released September 17, 2002
Recorded December 2000 – August 2002
Genre Lounge, dub, trip hop
Length 56:58
Label Eighteenth Street Lounge Music
Producer Rob Garza and Eric Hilton
Thievery Corporation chronology
The Mirror Conspiracy
(2000)
The Richest Man in Babylon
(2002)
The Cosmic Game
(2005)

The Richest Man in Babylon is Thievery Corporation's third album, released in 2002 on their Eighteenth Street Lounge label. Like Thievery Corporation's previous albums, The Richest Man in Babylon is electronic music with a downtempo aesthetic.

The group mixes many different styles in an audacious fashion. Diverse influences such as dub, jazz, dance music, rap, reggae, and especially Indian music are boldly yet smoothly combined. The group's usual elements of echoing synth lines, heavy bass, compressed beats and acoustic instruments are present as well.

The songs are sung in English, French ("Une Simple Histoire"), Portuguese ("Meu Destino"), Spanish ("Exilio") and Persian ("Omid"), complementing the group's cosmopolitan outlook. The title track, as well as "State of the Union", incorporate protest music into the group's sound, with both songs making strong political statements.

The album features various singers from all over the globe (Iceland, Jamaica, France) including Emiliana Torrini, LouLou, Pam Bricker, Latin singers and several Jamaican rappers including Notch. The album features both electronic and live instrumentation, treading "the line between acoustic and electronic music as a drunken sailor might, unpredictably falling on one side or the other with equal frequency,"[1] as one music journalist put it in a positive review.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[citation needed]
Pitchforkmedia 3.8/10 [3]

The critical reception was mixed. BBC's Collective magazine said that "This, their third 'proper' album, is certainly their most complete work to date, and arguably the first to be presented as one complete, cohesive whole. … this ranks as Thievery Corporation's finest yet."[4] Allmusic's John Bush said that the album "doesn't have the hooks or the production finesse to compete with The Mirror Conspiracy" but that "a few tracks on the backside do plow new ground, thanks in part to new guests..."[2] Among fans the album is popular, peaking at number 9 on Billboard's Independent Albums list on October 19, 2002[5] and number 2 on the Dance/Electronic Albums list on October 26, 2002.[5]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Featuring Length
1. "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes"   Emiliana Torrini (vocals) 4:10
2. "Facing East"   Pam Bricker (vocals) 3:43
3. "The Outernationalist"   Ras Pidow (vocals) 3:30
4. "Interlude"     1:21
5. "Omid (Hope)"   Lou Lou (vocals) 3:48
6. "All That We Perceive"   Pam Bricker (vocals) 3:46
7. "Un Simple Histoire (A Simple Story)"   Lou Lou (vocals) 3:45
8. "Meu Destino (My Destiny)"   Patrick dos Santos (vocals) 3:29
9. "Exilio (Exile)"   Verny Varela (vocals & flute) 3:03
10. "From Creation"     4:19
11. "The Richest Man in Babylon"   Notch 3:50
12. "Liberation Front"     5:04
13. "The State of the Union"   Sleepywonder and Shinehead (vocals) 4:28
14. "Until the Morning"   Emiliana Torrini (vocals) 3:56
15. "Resolution"     4:46

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Richest Man In Babylon. Amazon.com. 2002. Last accessed 14 Dec 2011.
  2. ^ a b The Richest Man in Babylon:Thievery Corporation. Allmusic. 2002. Last accessed 14 Dec 2011.
  3. ^ Thievery Corporation: The Richest Man in Babylon: Eighteenth Street Lounge; 2002. Pitchfork.com. 10 Oct 2002. Last accessed 14 Dec 2011.
  4. ^ thievery corporation - the richest man in babylon. Collective (BBC). 10 April 2003. Last accessed 14 Dec 2011.
  5. ^ a b The Richest Man in Babylon - Thievery...: 2002. Billboard. 2002. Last accessed 14 Dec 2011.