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Hurray For The Riff Raff|The Navigator

The Navigator

Hurray For The Riff Raff

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On her previous five albums as Hurray for the Riff Raff, singer/songwriter Alynda Segarra subscribed to an audacious, far-reaching definition of Americana, but she's never been as ambitious as she is on 2017's The Navigator. A pseudo-autobiographical concept album partially inspired by Segarra's first listen to David Bowie's The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust, The Navigator follows the journey of Navita, a Puerta Rican folk-punk who discovers her identity and sharpens her politics as she journeys through the boroughs of New York City. Although Segarra's story is relatively easy to parse, the pleasure in The Navigator lies not in the narrative but rather its ideas. While the album may open with "Living in the City," a song that makes a conscious nod to her early influence Bob Dylan, Segarra expands her musical palette considerably, finding space for spectral strings, gospel choirs, barrelhouse piano, and percolating funk. All of these flourishes give The Navigator a lush, enveloping atmosphere, but they're not merely flair: They're an indication of how Segarra pulls from several different American traditions to create a vibrant, modern Americana. Certainly, this album feels richer than previous Hurray for the Riff Raff records, which all benefitted from the stripped-down aesthetic that often signifies authenticity in Americana, but this broadening of Segarra's scope hardly constitutes pandering. The Navigator is nothing if it isn't a bold risk, a record that attempts to carve out a new kind of Americana, one where the past informs the present instead of the present preserving the past -- and one where the political is personal, too.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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The Navigator

Hurray For The Riff Raff

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1
Entrance
00:01:43

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

2
Living In The City Explicit
00:03:16

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

3
Hungry Ghost
00:03:25

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

4
Life To Save
00:02:56

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

5
Nothing's Gonna Change That Girl
00:03:40

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

6
The Navigator
00:03:27

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

7
Halfway There
00:02:11

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

8
Rican Beach
00:03:32

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

9
Fourteen Floors
00:04:13

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

10
Settle
00:02:57

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

11
Pa'lante Explicit
00:05:53

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

12
Finale
00:03:21

Paul Butler, Producer - Hurray For The Riff Raff, MainArtist - Alynda Segarra, Author - Mariposa Gang Publishing, MusicPublisher - Yva Las Vegas, Author

2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC. 2017 Hurray For The Riff Raff, Under exclusive license to ATO Records, LLC.

Album review

On her previous five albums as Hurray for the Riff Raff, singer/songwriter Alynda Segarra subscribed to an audacious, far-reaching definition of Americana, but she's never been as ambitious as she is on 2017's The Navigator. A pseudo-autobiographical concept album partially inspired by Segarra's first listen to David Bowie's The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust, The Navigator follows the journey of Navita, a Puerta Rican folk-punk who discovers her identity and sharpens her politics as she journeys through the boroughs of New York City. Although Segarra's story is relatively easy to parse, the pleasure in The Navigator lies not in the narrative but rather its ideas. While the album may open with "Living in the City," a song that makes a conscious nod to her early influence Bob Dylan, Segarra expands her musical palette considerably, finding space for spectral strings, gospel choirs, barrelhouse piano, and percolating funk. All of these flourishes give The Navigator a lush, enveloping atmosphere, but they're not merely flair: They're an indication of how Segarra pulls from several different American traditions to create a vibrant, modern Americana. Certainly, this album feels richer than previous Hurray for the Riff Raff records, which all benefitted from the stripped-down aesthetic that often signifies authenticity in Americana, but this broadening of Segarra's scope hardly constitutes pandering. The Navigator is nothing if it isn't a bold risk, a record that attempts to carve out a new kind of Americana, one where the past informs the present instead of the present preserving the past -- and one where the political is personal, too.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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