Van Hunt’s The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets (Album Review)

Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets

A soul veteran’s haunting romance

The soul veteran returns with a traditional soul/funk instrumental intricacies with a haunting echoing ambience.  This is necessary for soul-heads who enjoy the stylings of the likes of D’Angelo, Prince, and Parliament. Musically, Hunt delivers trippy vocals and aggressive funk grooves in a setting that feels more like a vagabond returning home to the south more than a interplanetary groove.  Hunt shows true artistic vision like a veteran.  Always a witty lyricist he sings concise romantic entendre lines in “Vega (Stripes On)”:

“What good is a good girl in my wet dreams? I need a vessel to sail all my fantasies. How good can a girl really be? I am the captain of this relation-ship. Girl, I wanna cruise with you.  In “(Let it) Soak (N)” he speaks of a biscotti romance as he sings “Dip your love life in my coffee, babe, and let it soak (N)…Dip your love life in my coffee, babee, and let me be your boyfriend”.  “Puddin” is a wah-pedaled ode to the georgia brown skinned woman as Hunt sings “Heyyyyyyy!! I don’t want nothing in my puddin’, but the chocolaaaatee!!” ending with the voice of a woman pleading “But what about tapioca?!”  Van Hunt delivers a full experience of an album like an artist that has wrangled his way around an album and compositions for a while.  

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Lianne La Havas’ – Blood

A sensitive soul singer’s second-coming turning up the heat while further defining her sound.

Blood is a dark title for the sophomore album of British soul singer Lianne La Havas.  Her debut LP Is Your Love Big Enough has been very well received garnering La Havas international tours and consecutive performances at yearly summer music festivals like Afropunk.  Blood is a macabre title for artist that has such a soothing and gentle voice suited for sultry and romance, but like blood, her music is always full of life and emotion. This album lifts higher than romance to chants of growth and unity with songs such as “Grow” and “Midnight”, a smooth minor-key groove, where she calls to be raised as a general of her own army of Midnight warriors. “Unstoppable” is the first single from the album and a wonderful love song about…well we’ll just let you figure that out.  You may want to listen to the song alone first and then follow by watching the video.  “Ghost” is one of more sentimental songs that will get you ruminating on past loves while on “Good Goodbye” La Havas croons with lullaby tenderness to comfort you push through and “cheers to a good goodbye”. “Midnight” and “Can’t Get Enough” show her pushing the boundaries of the soft soul vein further and injecting some well placed distortion which is truly a bit unexpected following the sounds that we’re accustomed to from her, but very well done. Lianne recently lent vocals to Prince’s “Clouds” on his Art Official Age album released mid 2014 and performed with him on his SNL performance. La Havas has been on the incline for sometime now and continues to keep us looking forward for what she will do next.  May the Midnight General be unstoppable and forever triumphant!
I just can’t escape the pull. We are unstoppable!

Miguel’s Wildheart

Miguel Wildheart

A soothing and rebellious third album from a new school R&B favorite,Miguel, satisfies but leaves us wanting more, in a good way.  

Miguel has been consistently on the Mainstream hip-hop and R&B charts for years now since first breaking onto the scene with “All I Want Is You” and other hits.  Wildheart embodies the romance and rebellion of his artistic perspective.  “Coffee(F******)” is a great tender song (with a lovely video btw), but the explicit and rap versions of the song can be helped or hindered by the vulgarity.  Wale delivers on his verse, but the lyrics to this track are already sentimental the alteration of “Coffee” with “F******” is actually poetically witty, but such a vulgarity sticks out like a sore thumb to the rest of the song. This further complicates his Wildheart  approach.  “Gfg”, “valley”, and  “NWA” further exemplify this wild love concept with a slight hand of BDSM, while tracks like “Hollywood Dreams”, “leaves”, and “what’s normal anyway” are more reflective on life, fame, and the changes of life.  Listener’s should be sure to dive into the Deluxe release  of the album for the sexier tracks like “Flesh”.  Miguel’s falsetto has been getting stronger over time earning him a comparison to Prince. I’m not sold on that one yet, but if Miguel keeps up the good work this one is definitely a down payment into Miguel’s shining artistic legacy.