Title - ‘All People’ (Capitol Records)
Artist - Michael Franti & Spearhead
There aren't many hip-hop artists out there today who give a damn about putting positive messages in their music, but Michael Franti is one of them. Ever since his days with seminal group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Franti has infused his sounds with insightful and thought-provoking lyricism, and this latest Spearhead joint is no exception.
The first song is the album title, 'All People,' and it personifies summer in an instant. A pounding dance floor backbeat combines with a catchy chorus to bring us a summer song for 2013. Another fancy-paced track is '11.59' which bounces its way around your head, before the highly infectious vibe of 'I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like).' Another song for the summer, this first new single from the album should be played VERY loud and at all traffic lights!
Then we get the trippy 'Long Ride Home' which slows things down, brings the tone to a mellow groove. Still with a base back beat, the speed is 33 1/2 not 45! The beautiful, gentle acoustic guitar strumming of 'Life Is Better With You' is next and boy, he keeps musically swinging and hitting on this album.
All People is about the beauty of diversity, being your authentic self in a crazy world and the infinite power of love. And that sentiment shines through on the next track, 'Earth From Outer Space.' A reggae hip-hop flavor, it brings us into the Spearhead world for the first time here. Then comes the smooth flow of 'Closer To You,' a song that oozes his love for his partner line after line.
Franti, who in 2000 decided not to wear any shoes, initially for three days, but has since then chosen to go barefoot except for occasionally wearing flip-flops (as required to board an airplane or to be served in a restaurant) then brings us the slow rap of 'Show Me A Sign' next. Then comes 'On And On,' before this incredibly fluid album comes to a close with both the acoustic bounce of 'Wherever You Are' and the rich spirit behind 'Say Goodbye.'
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk