The Homeless Gospel Choir
I Used to Be So Young
Right wing nut jobs, born again hypocrites and Black Friday shoppers have all managed to cram themselves into The Homeless Gospel Choir’s latest full length, the remarkably impressive I Used to Be So Young.
This solo venture by Pittsburgh native Derek Zanetti is just as raw in its sound as it is in its emotions, which help to highlight how powerful these songs are with little more than a guitar and vocals. Lyrically, bringing to mind Pittsburgh’s other native sons in Anti-Flag (fittingly, the band signed Zanetti to their label and Chris #2 produced the record), the album is one big fuck you to everything from conservatism to overbearing religious zealots and yes, these are easy targets to hit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be left alone. From “God Saves the Queen” to “Complete Control,” punk rock was founded on taking political shots.
Zanetti’s voice may strain at times, but he still gets his point across pretty damn well when he sings a line like, “Jesus Christ didn’t die so you could be an asshole / He didn’t come back to cut you some slack for all the forgiveness you wasted” (from “Untitled”). On I Used to Be So Young, he comes off sounding like a 21st century Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger, just trying to be heard over the din of Fox News and the bigoted screams from a nearby Tea Party rally. (John B. Moore)