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War

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Format: CD   Release Date: 06/23/2015
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    Track Title

    Time

  1. Don't Let No One Get You Down 4:07
  2. Lotus Blossom 4:03
  3. Heartbeat 7:25
  4. Leroy's Latin Lament: Lonnie Dreams/the Way We Feel/La Fiesta/Lament 6:44
  5. Smile Happy 7:26
  6. So 5:01
  7. Low Rider 3:13
  8. In Mazatlan 2:51
  9. Why Can't We Be Friends? 3:50

Cut from the same cloth as the band's 1973 Deliver the Word LP, War's 1975 Why Can't We Be Friends? is a masterpiece in its scope and breadth. And, emerging as the last work the band would do for its longtime label, United Artists, it became a fitting swansong, powering up the charts and giving War its fourth and final number one hit. In recent years, the album has been overshadowed by the monstrously popular bass-beating and bright brass of its singular hit, "Low Rider." Indeed, the song would become the band's signature theme, as the Latino street-cruiser jam quickly became a live set staple and, much later, was reinvigorated through sampling on songs by the Beastie Boys, Stereo MC's, and Offspring. However, that one track, iconographic as it is, is by no means the only treat onboard Why Can't We Be Friends? There are far more interesting and superb treats roiling in the wake of "Low Rider." The snappy title track, which poses the question of the decade and, oddly, closes the album, is a feel-good thumper. Its bright brass punctuation and rakish vocals are wonderfully combined with an absolutely contagious reggae beat. Then, add the doesn't-get-much-better-than-that medley "Leroy's Latin Lament." Divided into four "songs," the music swings from the smart vocal opening "Lonnie Dreams" to the effervescent Latin jam of "La Fiesta." And, of course, where there's War, there's funk -- this time on the seven-plus minute"Heartbeat." Wrap it all up with the poignant ballad "Lotus Blossom," and the result is pretty much perfection. Why Can't We Be Friends? remains one of War's truly outstanding efforts, and has become an integral part of the funk genre's landscape. It also remains the nightcap of their finest hour. War's ill-timed move to MCA changed the energy and focus of the band forever. [Why Can't We Be Friends? was re-released on CD in 2015.] ~ Amy Hanson, Rovi

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