Courtesy: Fantasy Records
On Friday, June 3rd Michael Franti and Spearhead will release their latest album Soulrocker. The group’s ninth full-length studio recording, it is also one of this year’s top new albums overall. It proves this with ease from beginning to end of its thirteen song, fifty-two minute run. It does so both through the infectious grooves that make up the album’s musical foundation and its constantly positive lyrical themes. One of the songs that serves as a prime example of the impact of that mix is the album’s lead single ‘We Are All Earthlings.’ It upbeat sound and its lyrical message of unity make it a song that will put a smile on very listener’s face, joy in their hearts, and a beat in their feet that they won’t want to end. ‘Still Standing’ is another example of what makes this record stand out. Its musical arrangement is just as infectious. What’s more it doesn’t just recycle the sound presented in any of the album’s other songs. The positive lyrics, which center on defying the odds, adds even more enjoyment to the song. Last but hardly least of note in this record is ‘Once A Day.’ This song was previously released as part of the duo’s Once A Day EP, which featured various mixes of the song. While the song presented here is just one mix of the song it is still just as infectious as its counterparts both on that EP and on this record. That is mainly in reference to the song’s musical arrangement. Its lyrical theme is very much in the same vein as the album’s lead single. It promotes spreading love among the world’s people even if doing it just “once a day.” It is just one more example of what makes Soulrocker stand out in this year’s field of new releases. It is hardly the last song that could be cited in showing what makes Soulrocker rock. Any of the album’s remaining ten songs not noted here could just as easily be cited in that argument. All things considered Soulrocker proves in the end with its mix of musical and lyrical content to be one of 2016’s top new albums overall.
Michael Franti and Spearhead’s upcoming album Soulrocker is one of 2016’s top new albums overall. It is an album that presents an act that is still at the top of its game. That is clear from the beginning to the end of the thirteen song, fifty-two minute album. That is thanks to a solid mix of infectious musical arrangements and optimistic lyrical themes. One of the songs included in the album that best exemplifies the effect of that mix is the album’s lead single ‘We Are All Earthlings.’ The song’s infectious beats will get any listener on his or her feet. What’s more it’s not just another standard bass heavy EDM composition either. Franti uses an acoustic guitar as the foundation of that composition. It remains present throughout the course of the song’s nearly four-minute run time and is never overpowered at any point in the song. The balance of the two elements together makes the song’s musical arrangement a composition that will put a smile on any listener’s face with ease. In the same vein the song’s lyrical theme will just as easily send positive vibes through listeners. Franti sings in this song, “We are all earthlings/And we share the air we breathe/We’re all made from heaven’s seeds/And we are all earthlings.” That is just in the song’s lead verse. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “We are all earthlings/From the cities to the mountains/And the deserts/And the deep blue sea/to the palaces and the prisons/And the paradises that I see/That we are all earthlings.” Franti leaves no doubt as to the message being delivered. And in an age when this world has become so divided it is a message from which everyone would benefit in hearing. That positive message joins with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement to make the song in whole a composition that is one of Soulrocker’s best works. It is one of the best examples of what makes Soulrocker one of 2016’s top new albums overall. It is hardly the only song that serves that argument. ‘Still Standing’ is another example of what makes this record stand out.
‘We Are All Earthlings’ is a prime example of what makes Soulrocker one of 2016’s top new albums overall. Its upbeat musical arrangement and its positive lyrical content work together to make it a composition that will put a smile on listeners’ faces, and warmth in their souls. It is a composition that the whole world needs to hear especially in this day and age. It is just one example of what makes Soulrocker…well…rock. ‘Still Standing’ is another example of what makes this record stand out so proudly. The song’s musical arrangement establishes a solid foundation for the song. That is due to the mix of its electronic and acoustic elements. The acoustic elements include bongos and Franti’s own work on acoustic guitar. The electronic element is largely keyboard driven. What’s really interesting here is the balance of each noted element. Each part is expertly balanced with the others from beginning to end. The end result is an arrangement that even in its simplicity is just as infectious as that of ‘We Are All Earthlings’ and any of the album’s other songs. The song’s lyrical content adds even more depth to the song thanks to its positive lyrical theme. It is a theme to which every listener of every age can relate at those many difficult times in life. He sings here, “There was a time just the other day/When I was on the ground lookin’ up sayin’/Please God listen to the words I say/Show me a sign/I wanna change my way/No more no wait/I want life to begin/I want to start this minute all over again/Next train comin’ my way/I’m gonna jump right in/And leave like yesterday.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “It’s been a long, long road this way/But I’m still standing today/And I don’t care what anybody say/Cause I’m still standing today.” Who hasn’t been in that position of desperation, wishing they could go back wishing they could just go back and start certain parts of life again? Franti’s subject goes on to sing in the song’s second verse of having found clarity of mind and direction. In turn he declares that he is moving forward in life, jumping on that train with happiness in his heart. It is a story from which listeners, again, of all ages can take something. Again, that positive message, when partnered with the song’s expertly balanced yet simple musical arrangement, the two elements together make the song in whole yet another piece that will entertain audiences and inspire them at the same time. It is still not the last song that does this. ‘Once A Day’ will entertain and inspire listeners just as much as ‘We Are All Earthlings’ and ‘Still Standing.’
‘We Are All Earthlings’ and ‘Still Standing’ are both key examples of what makes Soulrocker one of 2016’s top new albums overall. Both songs easily entertain and inspire audiences with their mix of musical arrangements and lyrical themes. While both songs use that mix to show what makes Soulrocker so impressive they are not the only songs on this album that do so. ‘Once A Day’ impresses and entertains listeners just as much as those previously noted songs. The song’s reggae/hip-hop hybrid sound serves as the song’s foundation, with Franti of course at the heart of it all on guitar. The song’s musical content is just one part of what makes it stand out so much. Its lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical content. Its message in question is another message of togetherness and spreading love around the world. Sure, it sounds hippie-esque. But again considering the current state of the world, it is a message that everybody should hear. Franti sends that message as he sings, ““You never know what the world is gonna show you/It ain’t up to you/You always think it’s gonna happen to another person/And it’s never ever gonna happen to you/You got your friends/Got your money/Got your family/Got your honey/You think you got a million days/But then life comes along/And it knocks you right down/To the ground/And that’s why I say that/Everybody oughtta hug somebody/At least once a day/And everybody oughtta kiss somebody/At least once a day/Everybody’s gonna miss somebody/At least once a day/And everybody gotta love somebody/Everyday.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “And we all will rise up/Spread your wings and fly/We all will rise up. From there Franti and Spearhead rap in the song’s second verse “The purpose of life is to live a life full of purpose/And so don’t ever take for granted what the spirit has given you/in the first verse/You might never get a second verse/The same rehearsal/You can’t put it in reverse/So just believe in yourself/Don’t let nobody be a negative/Tell you what to do.” Regardless of one’s age, this is a message that every person should take to heart in his or her everyday life. Both verses together compose a message that is far too rare in the mainstream music industry today. The song’s infectious reggae and hip-hop-infused sound adds even more enjoyment to the song, too. It is a sound that makes it a perfect fit on any Top 40 A/C station across the country and would likely be just as welcome, too. The positive, uplifting message is sure to make it just as welcome at said stations. It is just one more example of what makes Soulrocker stand out so starkly in this year’s field of new albums. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via Michael Franti and Spearhead’s official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gowi31zGyQA. Together with the other noted songs and those pieces not directly noted, the album in whole proves to be one of 2016’s top new albums overall. It is an album that every listener of every age should hear upon its release this Friday.
Michael Franti and Spearhead’s new album Soulrocker is one of 2016’s top new albums overall. It is a record that every listener of every age should hear at least once if not more times. That is due in part to the infectious grooves established in each one of the album’s musical arrangements. The songs’ positive lyrical themes add even more depth and appreciation to the album. All things considered Soulrocker proves in the end to be a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of this year’s top new albums overall. It will be available in stores and online this Friday, June 3rd. More information on Soulrocker is available online now along with all of Franti and Spearhead’s live dates, news and more at:
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