Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD

ALL REBEL ROCKERS

2008-09-12

Michael Franti’s activist lyrics have always been fueled by deep grooves and a Reggae edge. On this release he takes the next step with dub and straight out Reggae dance grooves compliments of rhythm gods, Sly & Robbie. While there are a couple of tunes that do little more than extol the virtues of a good time, "Rude Boys Back in Town" and "Soundsystem", or the joy of a solid relationship, "All I Want Is You" and "Say Hey (I Love You)", the balance of the disc contains ample doses of Franti’s observations of the many problems of today’s world. "A Little Bit of Riddim" yearns for a day before terrorism, climate changes and big brother’s snooping eye. "Hey World (Remote Control Version)" is a 60’s style call to everyone to get off their duff and to take action against the loss of rights. "Hey World (Don’t Give Up Version)" carries the theme further with a countdown of the senseless things that we need to get through like killing in the name of God, child soldiers and locked up borders. "The Future" is a cynical look at how the powers that be want you to be focused on tomorrow so you don’t notice today’s pillage of your rights. The duet with Zap Mama, "High Low", is a heartbreaking look at child abandonment. As with all Franti discs, he doesn’t simply toll the bell to announce the problem: he also offers solutions in the form of the encouragement of not only action, "Hey World (Remote Control Version)" but tolerance for those with different views, "Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong" and the need to be there for each other, "Have a Little Faith". While the themes are serious and worth careful thought, Franti and crew deliver them with insanely catchy, always interesting, grooves. This is ass shaking protest music of the highest order. WOW. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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