The World Is a Ghetto album cover
The World Is a Ghetto


United Artists Records

Just a little over a year after Eric Burdon abandoned his frontman role mid-tour, War ably proved both creatively and commercially that they could do just fine without him. The World Is A Ghetto hit #1 in 1973 en route to becoming the best-selling album of the year, a remarkable triumph for a band previously more known for its sprawling Afro-Latin jazz-funk jams than its hooky hit singles. Then again, it does help if you manage a hooky hit single like the #2-peaking “The Cisco Kid,” a nicely buzzed groove with Mexican-outlaw cachet and a potent dose of low-end oomph that makes hip-swaying inevitable. But it’s the dense, elaborate improvisational heart of the album that holds the biggest rewards: the rollicking instrumental travelogue “City, Country, City,” the meditative interpersonal connections of the hazy soul dirge “Four Cornered Room,” and the full flourish of its ambitious, gorgeously mournful yet gradually hopeful title cut.

Nate Patrin

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