First Impressions: Not Just Another Face In The Crowd

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let's just say that someone saw this as a threat... How ironic that modern funk artist, Van Hunt's third installment is titled, Popular? Considering the fact that this album was "unpopular" with his label, Blue Note, whom unfortunately stalled the release and left the album to collect dust on a shelf. Amid all the tussles, Popular (a hodgepodge 16 track manifesto) managed to worm its way online and well...let's just say Google is just a URL away...So Van Hunt fans won't have to commit serious crimes to get their hands on it. Still this album is worth digging around for. Van Hunt is quite the musical charmer as he melts together the sounds of funk, blues, folk, rock, jazz and soul into one hybrid sound. It's quite refreshing and Popular expresses all of that bundle of sound and more. Fans of Van's previous albums will rejoice at the sheer elegance Popular is. Songs such as the orchestral ballad "There's Never A G'Time 2 Say G'Bye" and the warm ode to down home comfort in "N The Southern Shade" are top notch. Cuts like the driving "Ur Personal Army" and the thought-provoking soul of "Popular/Count's Coda" are effective and well crafted. Van gets raunchy on the groovin' guitar lick of "The Lowest 1 Of My Desires" and gets right down to his passion play. Echos of the likes of Sly Stone, George Clinton and yes...'Ye Great Purple One (Prince) sound prevalent here and it's a neat modern day reflection. Even though Van will succumb to the unpopular kid's lunch table thanks to Blue Note, it's the witty phrases, musical grandeur and pure honesty that gets Popular my vote for one of 2008's best.

Rating: 9.5/10

Original Release Date: January 15, 2008


"Ur Personal Army"

"Popular/Count's Coda"

1 comment:

  1. This album is hot, what were his former label thinking of to sleep on releasing this? It's pure gold, especially with a lot of rubbish floating around music at the moment, it just seems that all of the best artists out there are being slept on.

    They all need a label that respects their talent and would bend over backwards to get it out there to the people. The industry needs creative people like Van Hunt, Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, etc. The list is huge when it comes to talent, so it's not like they don't have anything to do. It's sad that music fans have to spell it out to these labels what they're continuously doing wrong. More time spent on talent, less time spent on rubbing their hands together when someone is willing to strip to sell records. Whatever happened to integrity within music being nurtured? Now talent just seems to be shown the back door if they aren't selling the right amount of copies.


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