- Audio CD (16 May 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: EMI
- ASIN: B004UA8ORM
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,761 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Sound of Sunshine CD
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The Sound Of Sunshine -- the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti & Spearhead -- is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world.
Michael Franti is a gift to the Wikipedia-editing pedant. Born to an Irish-German-French mother and part African-American, part Native American father, before being adopted at birth by a Finnish American couple based in Oakland, California, he's spent his 45 years forging a career as perhaps the planet's only poet-cum-peace campaigner-cum-philosopher who concurrently fronts a six-piece hip-hop-reggae fusion outfit while extolling the virtues of a vegan lifestyle and strolling through life, wherever possible, without wearing any shoes.
Sadly, the wisdom Franti imparts on his seventh album with Spearhead – said fusion outfit and his musical outlet since 1994 – is less insightful than that potted biography might suggest. Written while recovering from surgery to remove a life-threatening ruptured appendix, The Sound of Sunshine is an inexorably optimistic collection whose heartfelt messages of carpe diem positivity and companionship are frequently undercut by the clichéd ways in which they're conveyed. This is the kind of record in which a paramour is "perfect just the way they are", cities are places where there are "million other people but still you just feel alone", and the less enticing idiosyncrasies of the human race are summarised thus: "It's a crazy world, a mixed up world, involving politics and the underworld."
Fortunately, Spearhead's music is often sufficiently infectious to buttress Franti's trite lyrics. The Sound of Sunshine features plenty of sprightly-as-a-rock-climber pop-reggae, sometimes rapped but mostly sung (and sung with soul) by Franti, but its 12 tracks don't want for variety. In fact, the album's most entertaining moments are actually its most unexpected: The Thing That Helps Me Get Through with its guitar riff that wouldn't disgrace Keith Richards' gnarly old fingers, the U2 stylings of I'll Be Waiting, a couple of dancehall party cuts, Shake It and Say Hey (I Love You), that are as difficult to resist as one last glass of rum punch. Two or three songs slip into Jack Johnson-ish blandness, but for the most part The Sound of Sunshine makes good on the promise of its undeniably appetising title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This album is a breath of sunshine and delivers on 90% of the tracks.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
He first held a contest, giving free two tickets away, and letting the women who won introduce him and the band. Then he took a tired over worked crowd and got them jumping. He gave everyone of his band a place in the spotlight. As his love spread like wildfire throughout the crowd, he took a three year old little boy named Milo on stage. Milo and Michael danced and sang. He called out to the grandmothers in the balcony,he played his guitar throughout the crowd, he paid a special notice to the people in the back and got on a platform and played in front of them, he got a family on stage and got dad shaking, he sang from his heart, and ended the night with a choir of kids dancing and singing on stage. I've never seen someone who gave so much of himself to lighten the hearts and minds of people. I could only put it on par as what a Bob Marley show would be like. This man is a prophet of love and light that has found the thread that connects us all and doesn't care about money, but people. On that note about the album:
The Sound of Sunshine is an ode to the thankfulness of being alive and being thankful for those life's treasures, those individuals around you. He explained at the show that he almost died on tour from a infection from a ruptured appendix. It brought him to his knees in humility and thankfulness for his life and how short it really is...
The Sound of Sunshine is an story of inspiration that shines into the darkness of this world, with a hope of something greater than lives within us all.....if we can only dream, believe, try, work, and become....
I am a father of 3 and when this world brings me down...this album give me the encouragement to pick myself up to finish my degree and remember how short this all is...what am I giving to others? What am I leaving behind?
What do I want people to remember me as...
But don't take my word for it....experience it for yourself!
Don't give up on yourself or those around you...
At the same time, I have a feeling that anyone who's been listening to Michael Franti for more than the last 18 months or so might be deeply disappointed. This is not similar to the thoughtful, driving music they used to do. Unfortunately this CD is pretty much forgettable commercial fluff. There's nothing of real value in here that's going to stick to your mind which really is a shame, because the earlier material, while not quite as catchy and radio-ready, really was very very intelligent. This is the polar opposite of his work with Disposable Heroes. Unfortunately, the introduction a lot of people had to his music was most likely with the song "Say Hey". It's a really catchy song and I'm happy for them to have finally broken through. However, I suspect that most people who are really into "Say Hey" would be really disappointed with the amazing concept album "Stay Human". While I understand that there's room for both, it would be nice to have seen both represented. Franti is an interesting guy politically and I think that coming on the heels of a successful single, this would have been a great opportunity to mingle some fluff with some thought, hopefully expanding on the fan base that's been loyal to this group for years. It's a shame, but this album is probably going to bring more parrotheads than thinkers out of the woodwork.
On one hand, I'm happy for the band because they've worked hard for this. On the other hand, this album is going to make it really hard to take Michael Franti and Spearhead seriously in the future as anything more than another commercial outfit.
I'm listening to John Legend & The Roots new album which is layered in old soul and funky grooves and then I listen to this and I'm disappointed. Like most of Franti's songs, they will sound better live.
Strip it down and get back to basics, but then again when you go mainstream that's hard to do. He's gaining a lot of new fans, but the old ones will be let down...
"Shake it" is Reggae with a groovy bassline as are "Anytime you need me", and "The only thing missing was you". "Hey hey hey" is a jangly Rock song with stomping beats and a message encouraging hope in the face of adversity. "The thing that helps me get through" is a more upbeat Rock song with a funky edge.
Franti's smooth relaxed vocals are perfectly showcased on the midtempo "I'll be waiting", the ballad "Gloria", and the tender acoustic "Headphones". If you like this, check out Talk About (Dig) by Mishka.