'Landing on a Hundred'
Expected Release: Oct 30, 2012
1 Til I Met Thee
2 I've Been Life
3 That's Still Mama
4 What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next)
5 Don't Follow Me
6 Everybody's Brother
7 Love Is More Than a Wedding Day
8 Under the Spell of the Handout
9 Don't Wanna Go the Other Way
10 Chips Down (In No Landfill)
11 Where Is All the Money Going
12 Scroll Call
Cody ChesnuTT’s smooth, rich vocals blend neo-soul, R&B, rock, hip hop and the blues and unfurl like aromatic smoke. Most of the album feels like reminiscence, but is a sharp reminder that the issues back in “the day” are still with us. So far, ChestnuTT’s biggest claim to fame is probably his appearance on the remake of his “The Seed” by The Roots, but this album shows his solo star potential.
As is so often true, the first track, “‘Til I Met Thee” is one of my favorite tracks. Its energetic riffs remind me of early Motown mixed with the disco era. In fact, many of the songs on this album are “old school”, but with a modern twist.
“I’ve Been Life” is a reggae-flavored tune that has echoes of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. With all the shout-outs to African countries in this one, it’s sure to be on a global top 10 and is an anthem in the making. “That’s Still Mama” and “What Kind of Cool (will we think of next)” speak to the urban stories that surround us. I found “Don’t Follow Me” to be a bit dreary, but the jazzy testimonial “Everybody’s Brother”, lifted me back up. It felt introspective at the outset, but the lyrics definitely kept it real. “No turning back … no one could sell a lie quicker than I …” Preach it ChesnuTT!
There’s a timely, underlying political message on the album, particularly on Track 11, “Where is All the Money Going”. (Vote! Word!) “Under The Spell of the Handout” is a fantastic, ironic, commentary on the BackToMe! generation. His phrasing and the fantastic keyboard work conjure the legendary talent of Ray Charles, but there’s nothing derivative about it. “I’m hungry for freedom!” I feel you, ChestnuTT.
“Don't Wanna Go the Other Way” feels like an unborn anthem for an issue most people aren’t aware of yet. The syncopated sound has texture and an underbeat that sounds like sonar or whale and dolphin communication.
“Chips Down (in no landfill)” is a stylized, almost show tune with a not-so-subtle message. It isn’t one of my favorites, but it does show ChestnuTT’s musical versatility.
While I don’t believe “Love is More than Wedding Day” will make it into the Greatest Wedding Songs of All Time, it’s funny, ironic and oh so true. If I were a music supervisor (hey, I’m available!) for a romcom like Valentine’s Day, I’d definitely pick up the rights to this one.
The final track, “Scroll Call” reminds me of the musicality of Ray Charles and the vocals of Terrence Trent D’Arby. Mother Africa is also represented in this track with more than a nod to gospel. ChestnuTT smoothly and melodiously delivers this lyrically luscious track. It’s one of my favorites. It will get you grooving. Guaranteed.
All in all, ChesnuTT takes us willingly on a moving spiritual and political journey. On a scale of 1 (they should pay me to listen to it) to 10 (I’d give them someone else’s child to get some royalties), I’d give this album an 8. While he didn’t land quite on a hundred for me this time, ChesnuTT has all of the elements and I daresay the seeds of greatness to push his music to the next level. Stay tuned.
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