Studio Album by released in 2009
Beware's tracklist:
Beware Your Only Friend
You Can't Hurt Me Now
My Life's Work
Death Final
Heart's Arms
You Don't Love Me
You Are Lost
I Won't Ask Again
I Don't Belong to Anyone
There Is Something I Have to Say
I Am Goodbye
Without Work, You Have Nothing
Afraid Ain't Me

Beware review

Unpredictable William Oldham

About artist William Oldham, whose monikers include Bonnie Prince Billy, we know not much. Exactly, we know that he is the native of Kentucky, USA, started his show-business career as an actor and still shoots in the films actively, but he plays mostly in independent films, and that he hates the press. Well, may be because of Oldham’s unpredictability, reserved character and hatred to paparazzi, we do not know many fascinating details of his life, as only a person with a colossal life experience or intense spiritual life can write such piercing and unusual music. One more prove of the artist’s unpredictability is his relation to pseudonyms – in the beginning of his unusual career, he changed them from one release to the other. However, in 1997, when the artist grew up, he made his choice and stopped on the scenic name Bonnie Prince Billy, although sometimes he speaks of some other names. Nevertheless, it’s only talks now. The musician, currently calling himself Bonnie Prince Billy, thinks that the pen name of the artist is a binding chain between his work and the public. Well, taking in consideration the heights, William Oldham has reached in his music, he can care for such “trifles” as the search of an ideal pseudonym. Who knows, how he will subscribe the next disc, but now he has released the long-play Beware under the old good name Bonnie Prince Billy.

Country and Bonnie Prince Billy successfully met

The disc starts with the country lead single Beware Your Only Friend. In this song, the artist continues to research the darker side of a human soul, and this time he advises the listeners to keep an eye on their best friend – this person can be less harmless that he or she seems to be. The dreary atmosphere is contributed by the female gospel choir in the chorus and hand percussion. The following country ballad You Can't Hurt Me Now is more traditional for Bonnie Prince Billy in the matter of sound and explores such themes as solitude and happiness. The tune Death Final became a dark and very personal number on the disc, so did the situated near to the end of the album wonderful composition I Am Goodbye. One of the most cheerful songs on the full-length is the dynamic country melody You Don't Love Me, in spite of its title. It is a very sincere and sometimes even lyrically naïve track. For example, it has such lines: “Sometimes you like the smell of me or how my stomach jiggles. But you don't love me...” The tune I Don't Belong To Anyone is devoted to loneliness, which does not bother the person and is it possible that the song demonstrates the life position of Oldham himself. The minimalistic There Is Something I Have To Say, decorated with strings and brass Without Work, You Have Nothing and thoughtful Afraid Ain't Me lead the album to its final.

The artist has cheered up on Beware

It is a well-known fact that Bonnie Prince Billy’s poetry touches upon such eternal and thrilling topics as love, interpersonal relations, violation and religion. However, on the new release, the artist seems to cheer up, and the Beware long-play only partly has the mesmerizing dark atmosphere of its predecessors. This record will make you smile one time at least. The lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy, which was scaring and dramatic earlier, on the album Beware got a grotesque minimalism, sometimes even primitivism. However, it did not damage the heat of passions on the disc. The full-length also has the feasible influence of cinema. For example, the idea of the breath-keeping lead single Beware Your Only Friend was almost definitely inspired to Bonnie Prince Billy by such films as The Cable Man with Jim Kerry and alike. At the same time, some of the country songs about solitude and happiness make us refresh in our brains the scenes from the American westerns about the lonely and free life of cowboys. Besides, on the last discs of the artist we could trace a stronger inclination to country music with each record, and this tendency got its climax for now on Beware. According to the laws of this genre, the songs must have both sadness and joy. Overall, Beware is a very monolith work, which is at the same time the most diversified artist’s masterpiece for years. Even if you are not acquainted to the previous releases by Bonnie Prince Billy, the Beware long-play fist perfectly for the first meeting with the creativity of this American self-made-man.

Ninelle Kazakoff (13.03.2009)
Rate review3.33
Total votes - 9

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