The Massive Suprise (to me) that is Plan B

Today I was properly shocked. Really, properly shocked. I sat down to try and update myself with the goings on of the internet (with the general intention of actually getting some work done) and thought that I’d get some background music on. I must have heard Plan B on the radio earlier or somthing because I’d had his song “she said” bouncing around my head all morning. To my 50,000 (ok, I’m kind of bragging) strong Itunes collection I went, only to find that I hadn’t yet acquired “The Defamation of Strickland Banks”, Plan B’s second studio album. To Spotify I went, finding the record in no time at all. Don’t you just love the internet by the way?

Wow. What an incredible album. It’s definetely the best I’ve heard since listining to The Streets’ brilliant “A Grand Don’t Come For Free”. I love a good themed album that tells a story and lets just say that if they made a movie based on Plan B’s songs, I’d be the first in line at the local Cineworld. The Album tells the story of Plan B’s fictional alias “Strickland Banks”. A famed soul singer, Banks’ goes out celebrating his success and meets a women at a bar, spending the night. In the morning she declares herself to be his biggest fan telling flabbergasted Strickland that she is in love with him. He rejects her advances, only to wind up in court after she falsely accuses him of rape in anger. The album then goes on to describe Banks’ struggle in prison, originaly keeping his head down, but when other prisoners begin herassing him, he buys a ‘shiv’. In self defense, Banks kills another prisoner only to let a fellow inmate take the blame. He is sticken with guilt and begins to become angry at being in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, only to give up and accept his fate. The album’s finale sees new evidence appear and Banks is back on trial. It finishes with the listner never finding out whether or not Banks in freed.

Not only is the album a beautifully written tale (I think Plan B deserves an Oscar for best scipt) the songs are aswell. In “Stay Too Long” Plan B tells us how Strickland is “feeling happy now” in his brilliantly melodic voice- only to switch the pace half way through and shock us with some seriously gritty MCing (Mike Skinner, take notes) What a joy to listen to. “Trading in my Cigarrettes” Has Strickland bartering for a knife to protect himself in prison. The track has a guitar rift (I’m not sure whether that actually is the right terminology) reminiscint of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but also has a decidely upbeat tone of somthing that definetely sounds gospel. The lyrics of “What You Gonna Do” towards the album’s end are quite brilliant. “You can cut me loose or bang me up, ’cause to tell the truth, I don’t really give a fuck” is one of my favourite lines in the entire record. Plan B pulls off cool so well.

I went to Radio One’s big weekend back in may, and massively enjoyed Plan B’s performance. I hadn’t really heard anything of his before but I still enjoyed it. Now I’m kicking myself for not quite appreciating just how lucky I was to be only 10ft from a guy I now consider to be a genius. Thank you Plan B for you’re phenomonal music, I underrated you fella. I think I’ll go on Twitter and see If I can follow him, I’m so late in finding “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” that his new album must be coming out pretty soon. I can’t wait.

2 Responses

  1. I loved Plan B’s debut, “Who Needs Actions When You Got Words”, so I was completely shocked with the change of direction he took with this album. I think his songwriting is incredible and he’s a brilliant storyteller. I haven’t been lucky enough to see him live yet but from the footage I’ve seen of festivals and tv appearances, he looks amazing.

  2. I agree that Plan B’s album is great. Part of what makes it so good is that it is different from everything else that’s out there at the moment. My favourite song is Prayin’.

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