As Talib Kweli and Res started selecting songs that would be on the debut album from their group Idle Warship, they realized that the album’s title, “Habits Of The Heart,” was more than just a title.
“The title is the theme of the record,” Res says. “When I think of relationships, I think of the ups and the downs. When people have a habit, it’s usually a bad habit, something that you rely on because of insecurity or low self esteem. The types of songs that we had on the album, ‘Habits Of The Heart’ was a good theme for it.”
Throughout the 11-cut album (the iTunes version features an additional selection, “Burning Desire”), Idle Warship focuses on relationships. The sultry yet pensive reggaeish “God Bless My Soul” features Res detailing her romance with a married man, played by Kweli, while the driving, tense “Enemy” showcases a violent Kweli and a confused, abused Res.
The latter song, in particular, was difficult for Kweli to approach. “That track just sounds like violence to me,” he says. “I really liked the track and I didn’t really know how to approach it. Res wrote on that first and I listened to what she was saying. I just decided that that track would allow me to play a character. That’s something that’s exciting about Idle Warship. It would be a little bit trickier for me to play that character on my solo album, that of a violent, abusive man. I created that character to tell that story, to say that there’s women that can’t decide whether or not they should leave or stay with someone who’s clearly their enemy.”
The rest of “Habits Of The Heart” incorporates and straddles a number of musical genres and styles, from the kinetic, club vibe of “The Floor” to the electronic feel of “System Addict,” which also features Jean Grae and Jay Knocka.
Having a variety of sounds and themes was the goal of Idle Warship, which plays off of both idol worship and a stationary ship.
“Our name, it’s the idea that people are caught up in celebrity worship or idol worship, but that it’s limiting them from being completely who they are, their musical tastes and what they get exposed to and get themselves involved in musically,” Kweli says. “People often like one type of music. The image of this ship at sea with all these weapons but nothing in the water to fight, I feel like it’s a perfect image for a group of people, a generation that for a number of different reasons, has been stagnant when it comes to being able to appreciate different music.”
And that’s something that Idle Warship combats with “Habits Of The Heart.”