Politics is not my only obsession. There are a few. (I have a love for/addiction to sugar that might be unparalleled) but the one I’ve been thinking about a lot this morning is music.
On iTunes, I ran across this new album that Alicia Keys recommended to her fans. I decided to take a listen. It was… interesting.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is good music. It is worth buying the songs you like on it. As an album, though, it completely lacks focus.
My one friend who is a fellow music junkie asked me “Is it good.” It is hard to answer her because the quality of the music is overshadowed by its diversity.
It is a tad bit all over the place in musical style. “eclectic” is an understatement. It’s like he couldn’t decide what genre he wanted his album to be, so he put them all on there! It’s good… but it is really, really, really, eclectic. It bounces around from one musical style to the next from song to song. I rarely found two songs that were from the same genre.
It is like he took the whole Ben-Haper-diverse-genres thing to an extreme and I’m not sure whether it works as one album. But since we are in the age of MP3s and shuffle mode where people rarely listen to one album at a time in order, it might not be a bad thing. If you try to listen to the album all at once, it feels kind of ADD and at times I was thinking “Jeez! Focus!” It wasn’t because the music itself was bad, just because he did not even remotely pick a genre for it.
I’m not even sure whether I recommend it or not. It is such a new experience to know how I feel about an album (for instance I definitely think you should give Tristan Prettyman’s new one a try, but her ex-fiance, Jason Mraz disappointed on his latest offering - with the exception of “I Won’t give Up (Demo) - which is a nice bit of musical karma). But with Gary Clark Jr., I don’t know what to think.
Some L.A. Times music critic uses the beautiful description that it is “every shade of the blues.” That is true, I guess. However, it is a bit jarring to hear the smooth imitation of Smokey Robinson on “Please Come Home” and the Black Keys wannabe “Ain’t Messing Round” and the piano-heavy “Travis County” (which sounds like the love child of a classic Jerry Lee Lewis tune and Amos Lee’s “Truth”) all on the same album. And that is not the extent of Clark’s influences. I hear influences from classic country music to Lenny Kravitz to early neo-soul to hip-hop.