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ALBUM Review: 'The Long Goodbye'-Riz Ahmed

'The Long Goodbye' is an eye-opening exploration of identity and belonging in post-Brexit Britain. Riz Ahmed has described the album as "for anyone dealing with a breakup...with their country". A romantic relationship is used as a metaphor for breaking up with Britain. 

Personally, I have been a huge fan since 2006's 'Post-9/11 Blues'. That single was released under the moniker Riz MC and 'The Long Goodbye' is the first release under the artist's full name, Riz Ahmed.

The first track on the album, 'The Break Up (Shikwa)' is inspired by Sufi poetry. It's very deep and so close to home and honest that it's actually quite painful to listen to.

The second track is more upbeat. 'Toba Tek Singh' is a place in Pakistan and also the title of a story by satirical writer Saadat Hasan Manto. The story tells of a man who refuses to choose a side during the Indo-Pak Partition and ends up in no man's land. 'Toba Tek Singh' is lively and unapologetically ethnic. It's an unapologetic album full stop. "I spit my truth and it's brown," says Riz in 'Fast Lava'. 

Interludes from Mindy Kaling, Hasan Minhaj and Riz's 'Ammi' (Mum) are some of those providing voicemail messages of support to comfort the heartbroken Riz througout the album.

'The Last Goodbye' is quite experimental in its sound. 'Fast Lava' is an example of this. It's sound is quite chaotic but it works. It's a personal album for Riz, but it can't help but be political too.

'Any Day' features Jay Sean and, again, mixes Eastern and Western beats. 

'Can I Live' features the lyrics "Hope my people don't just end up as a memory" which is just so hard-hitting and also the lyrics, "Was this part of the plan?/Am I putting my foot down or am I tap-dancing for the man?" 'Can I Live' is one of my favourite tracks on the album.

As a British Asian myself, Riz Ahmed's music has always resonated with me. He expresses himself so eloquently ("I'm repping for the rest of us"). 

'Where You From' is a spoken word piece and Riz concludes, "Where I'm from is not your problem, bruv".  He says this line with so much conviction. At this point, I might just have to stand up and cheer even though there's no one but me around. Riz has created this album that is is so important and so relevant in today's time. 

'Mogambo' features Redinho (Riz's Swet Shop Boys partner), who also produced the album.It's a catchy one but the message is still there ("This is for the mosque and the moshpit").

In 'Deal With It', bhangra is mixed with hip hop beats while Riz demonstrates his lyrical prowess with his flow. It also feels quite tongue in cheek. 

Finally, 'Karma' has an R 'n'B vibe and is like a final "f*ck you" to his ex.

'The Long Goodbye' isn't going to be for everyone. If anything, I feel that it will straight up p*ss some people off. However, those that 'get it' will really appreciate it. 'The Long Goodbye' is unique in its message and sound, and feels pretty damn groundbreaking.

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