Dragon Ash

Viva la Revolution

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Progressively harder and angrier than their previous releases, Viva la Revolution established Dragon Ash as a major force in Japanese rock, based upon two monster singles, both here: "Let Yourself Go Let Myself Go," a discordant slice of heavy hip-hop similar to the Beastie Boys' "So What'cha Want," but featuring battling sample layers that shouldn't even work together, but do; and "Grateful Days," a soulful number based around a lyrical riff from Smashing Pumpkins, swirling strings, and the frisson of vicious-sounding rapper Zeebra and soul diva ACO. With DJ Bots now part of the band, Dragon Ash fully embraced a rock/hip-hop identity, with dips into reggae ("Dark Cherries"), a paean to snowboarding, ska ("Just I'll Say"), and a terrific Social Distortion-like statement of purpose, "Freedom of Expression." This album marked their third excellent album in that many years -- quite a record.

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