Why is Edwin Starr’s War & Peace on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
“War” first and foremost, but make peace with the fact there’s also a lot of other great songs going down here.
Some stats & info about Edwin Starr – War & Peace
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Soul, R&B, Funk Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was War & Peace released? 1970
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #979 out of 1,000
Edwin Starr’s War & Peace on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Edwin Starr’s War & Peace mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
This is one of those albums where it’s, “Yeah, this is the one with ‘War’ on it.” “War” is an iconic song both in terms of the music and its content and the era it came from. The militaristic call and response of “War, what is it good for?” and the response, “Absolutely nothing!” maps against an incredible soul/funk/rock groove that rockets you along for three-plus minutes while insisting what you think about what exactly is the point of sending young people off to try and kill other people while other people are trying to kill them back, anyway?
And of course, this album came out of the deeply murky political year of 1970, with the Vietnam War raging, young Americans – many of them poor and of color – being drafted in the thousands (that meant they were forced to go into the military and likely to the battlefront in jungles of Vietnam, kids!). In other words, s— was real for a young generation and a counterculture that bustling with unrest and resentment at a system that could send them to a war half a planet away… and for what purpose, again?
“War” is a song that speaks so directly of this feeling and while it’s entirely of its time, it still crushes and rocks hard from both a musical and message standpoint today.
That being said, there are some other great songs on War & Peace. I particularly dig “Time,” which leans into soul a little more, but has a taste of the same super upbeat funk and rock sensibilities that make “War” so insistent and amazing.
To be totally fair, there are also some songs that seemingly belong on a completely different album. For example, this cover of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” sound like they belong in a shmaltzy Vegas lounge act.
This album also sounds like
Let’s go with the most funked up soul iteration of The Isley Brothers, with touches of Wilson Pickett and James Brown.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Edwin Starr’s War & Peace
It seems like I’ve known of “War” all my life, and I assumed it was featured in a ton of top-notch films and TV shows over the years. After doing some research, it’s been in some movies and TV shows, but far less than I imagined.
What’s really odd – at least according to my half-a—ed Internet research, as Bill Simmons and crew would put it on the great podcast, The Rewatchables – is that it seemingly hasn’t been featured in any Vietnam-set movies as far as I can tell.
In fact, it’s possible that I first came across “War” via the wacky satire, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, dating back to 1988.
I would fully imagine though that a new generation became aware of Edwin Starr and “War,” though, via being featured in 1998’s Rush Hour.