The opening track, "I Keep Faith," is a rallying cry against the temptations of cynicism in the political forum, followed by "I Almost Killed You," an elegiac tale of how the same cynical beliefs have soul-crushing results on a romance. The album proceeds in this manner, with a thoughtful mix of songs that explore the personal and political struggles all sentient beings encounter.
Bragg has mellowed a bit, as demonstrated by "M for Me," an unexpectedly mawkish track from the artist dubbed "the one-man Clash." But the rest of the album proves there's plenty of indignant fire left. One of Bragg's strengths is his ability to make the dreaded "message song" non-cringe-inducing while still getting the point across. That skill is on display with the amusing "The Johnny Carcinogenic Show," about the evildoers of the tobacco industry. Who else could make a song containing a chant of "poverty is toxic" such a fun ride?
Mr. Love and Justice might not be the freshest new thing, but this world needs Billy Bragg and his unwavering commitment to humanistic politics and quality songwriting.