Michael Franti & Spearhead Release New CD "The Sound of Sunshine" ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Michael Franti & Spearhead Release New CD "The Sound of Sunshine"

STREAM: Michael Franti & Spearhead - "The Sound of Silence"

Michael Franti & Spearhead Release New CD Bob Dylan wrote “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and, after listening to the new Michael Franti & Spearhead album, he is right. I saw Michael play a number of times in the early and mid-90’s – both with Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and a few dates on the first two Spearhead tours. Michael always seemed to have a heavy political/social message and the beats got heavier from the first Spearhead to the second.

It came as somewhat of a surprise to see Michael & Spearhead touring with John Meyer earlier this year as Meyer’s high-gloss rock didn’t seem compatible with Michael’s lyrical messages or his gritty hip-hop/trip-hop beats. After listening to Spearhead’s seventh disc, The Sound of Sunshine, I stand corrected. The new disc has a dancehall-oriented, ‘feel-good’ sound that probably played very well with John Meyer's fans.

The songs on the new disc were the outgrowth of Michael’s near-death brush due to a ruptured appendix. Michael said that “the songs I wrote were songs of bliss and gratitude and songs to get through difficult times. I really wanted to make a record that would be that for other people. Right now is a difficult time in our country and on the planet and I wanted to make a record for when people don’t think there’s any sun in their lives right now, they could put this record on and find it." The end result is that The Sound of Sunshine is eleven tracks of summertime/beach music.

Across the new disc, Michael predominately sticks with breezy reggae and dancehall rhythms but there are a few departures into 80’s style rock. The disc’s first single, “Shake It”, which features a guest appearance from Jamaican dancehall queen Lady Saw, sets the pace for the rest of the disc.

The only real departures from this formula are the 80’s rocker “The Thing That Helps Me Get Through” and the U2-sounding arena-rock of “I’ll Be Waiting”.

While I can’t blame Michael for changing over the years and wanting to put out a feel-good record, I miss the days of “Hole in the Bucket” and “Positive”.

Michael Franti & Spearhead