Review Summary: G. Love delivers a solid album with his first release on Brushfire Records.“They say you only hear what you wanna hear,
But I can only hear this guitar ringin’ in my ears”
G. Love, hailing from Philadelphia PA, is a one-of-a-kind musician. Blending rock, rap, gospel, funk, and whatever else he feels like throwin’ on in, Garret Dutton shines on his latest release, Lemonade. After being in the music biz for over ten years, G. Love and Special Sauce have switched from being a major label artist to joining musician/friend Jack Johnson’s own indie Brushfire Records. Personally, I don’t mind the switch at all. G. Love’s self-titled debut album got him recognized, instantly signed to Sony Records. From there he went to create multiple hits, like the incredibly popular Baby’s Got Sauce and Cold Beverage, but soon he began to run out of steam and created some of the most uninspired music of his life around 2004. Sony dropped him, but good pal Jack Johnson picked him up and put him on good ol’ Brushfire Records. This time around G. Love is all about one thing, the music. And boy is Lemonade some great music indeed.
Whereas in earlier G. Love albums, we hear a slow, crying blues sound, Lemonade dons this previous feeling and lets loose with an upbeat, carefree funk beat. Although the quick tempo remains almost exactly alike for the first four tracks, each song has its own unique little feeling and the similarity is damn near unnoticeable. However, G. Love’s dark, bluesy past is still a reoccurring theme throughout Lemonade. Through the light, blissful beats, G. Love is actually telling stories of oppression and even anguish. It’s very strange hearing a funky pop track with such melancholy lyrics. Luckily, the moping only lasts for a few tracks, and even in these tracks, sometimes we only feel it for a brief moment. It feels like G. Love and Special Sauce are trying to turn around their dysphonic past and create a much happier sound. Of course, with trying something new there are always a few kinks to work out. The slight reversions into the downcast side are completely, and fortunately, overshadowed by the cheerful, radiant remainder of Lemonade.
Rainbow really shines as the most optimistic, beautiful song on the album. Jack Johnson adds to the vocals and harmony of this track and the product is flawless. The lyrics tell a tale of remembrance and moving on, but they are portrayed in such a unique way that all comes together in perfect unison. Rainbow is not the only song with a special guest, Banger, Let the Music Play, and beautiful are all spruced up with an extra guest. Usually, the guest appearances are fleeting or just seem to be in the background of these respective tracks. They don’t really change or add to the sound at all. They are just…there. Let the Music Play is a complete flop when G. Love, B.R.E.T.T., Fabolous, and Kurupt try their skills at rapping. Though G. Love’s white-boy rapping skills are reminiscent of the Beastie Boys, the silly lyrics are just an immediate turn off.
One of the finer slow jams on Lemonade is the lusty Missing My Baby. G. Love really hits the mark here with a much slower, quieter music style. The lyrics really show some deep feelings and metaphors, giving the listener a perfect image in their mind. Another shining moment on the album is Hot Cookin.’ G. Love has always had a knack for singing catchy songs about food and drinks. From the band name, G. Love and Special Sauce
, to the hits Cold Beverage and My Baby’s Got Sauce, and even the track Recipe could fall in this category. Never before have I seen an artist (who isn’t obese) sing so highly of food. Oh well, it works for G. Love. The last notable track is Can’t Go Back to Jersey. I saved this track to mention last because it is so…out there. G. Love’s white-boy rapping actually is one of the highlights of this song, making for a fun, sing-along chorus that helps the song tell a humorous little story. Throughout the rest of Lemonade one will find many similar tracks. G. Love’s style is so unique that you can’t really associate anybody else with his music. This is a good thing, but G. Love never really goes above and beyond his skill and tries new things. He is always recreating that same feeling, nothing more, nothing less. This may have been one of the reasons for his downfall in Sony Records. However, the album is put together in just the right length so that his styles never becomes repetitive or boring. Lemonade is one of the better releases of 2006, and definitely an album to check out.
Can’t Go Back to Jersey
Missing My Baby