Singer-songwriter Eric Anders recently released his latest record, entitled ‘Eleven Nine’. Referencing the date that the 2016 United States Presidential election came to a conclusion, this title directs our attention directly at Donald Trump (with a lightly veiled nod to the 2001 terrorist attacks, too). Along with the album’s producer, Matt Brown, the California-based artist gives listeners ten anti-Trump tracks in response to the campaign, election, and new administration of the new U.S. president.
While anything labeled ‘anti-Trump’ might seem like it’s dating itself, protest albums have made large impacts outside of music in the past. Anders certainly aimed at a lasting impression in Trump’s America, but the message of ‘Eleven Nine’ likely won’t have the longevity of its influences.
Anders‘ songs mix folk with a hint of alternative rock a la Tom Petty, R.E.M., and more. Considering the formulaic nature of both of those genres, ‘Eleven Nine’ has a number of surprising changes of direction. Specifically, two guitarists, Jeff Fielder and Tyler Nuffer, were brought in for this record, sharing the duties of creating some standout leads. Songs like ‘Looking Forward to Your Fall’ and ‘Big World Abide’ have guitar parts that will move listeners as much as the singer’s voice.
It’s hard not to notice the one example of imbalance on this record; ‘Eleven Nine’ is full of slow-burners, aside from ‘Looking Forward to Your Fall’. However, this jolt right before the album’s halfway mark make’s the fifth song, ‘Inside the Sacrifice Zone’, the standout track of the record.
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‘Eleven Nine’ features two covers in John Fogerty’s ’Who’ll Stop the Rain’ and ‘I Hear Them All (This Land is Your Land)’, which is actually a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s take on the Woody Guthrie original. These tracks stand out on this record, with the later cover even concluding the album. Unfortunately, this comes off as more of a distraction from the anti-Trump message of the original songs. Aside from hearing a different take on already popular songs, these covers almost feel like an unwanted reminder that this album is supposed to sound like, well, these two covers!
The album will likely fail to have a huge social impact, but that shouldn’t take away from the overall quality of it. Protest records might not be your thing, but this concise message about the United States’ current political climate will certainly touch listeners. Anders shows he’s a talented songwriter and performer on ‘Eleven Nine’. It is likely that this record is creating discussion amongst listeners and possibly extending throughout their peers.
Here is the tracklist for ‘Eleven Nine’ by Eric Anders:
1. ‘This Fire Has Burned Too Long’
2. ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’
3. ‘How Low and Why’
4. ‘Looking Forward to Your Fall’
5. ‘Inside the Sacrifice Zones’
6. ‘Do You Feel’
7. ‘A Man for No Season’
8. ‘So Wrong’
9. ‘Big World Abide’
10. ‘I Hear Them All (This Land Is Your Land)’