Review Summary: Slightly Stoopid have mastered creating chill, reggae sounds. Too bad they abuse the privilege and remade the same song seventeen times.
I am a Stoopid fan and it looks like I might be stupid now, too. Every release Slightly Stoopid has put out has altered the genre of their music a little bit. Their debut self-titled release in 1998 was full of fast, raunchy punk tracks. Almost 10 years later, Slightly Stoopid have transformed into the chill, stoner, Marley worshipers they were destined to be. Every album in between their self-titled album and their most recent release, Chronchitis, has perfectly balanced a formula of fast punk songs mixed with reggae beats and ska tunes. Now, in 2007, Slightly Stoopid have completely discarded their punk edge and let the reggae take over. I, a die-hard Bob Marley fan, was thrilled. That was until I heard the creation that was to be Chronchitis.
Chronchitis is the bronchitis that occurs to someone who has smoked too much marijuana in a short time. Chronchitis symptoms usually include haziness, excessive coughing, and headaches. After I was through with Stoopid's version of Chronchitis, I successfully had received each of these symptoms (minus the coughing.) Now, onto the actual album.
Slightly Stoopid has been known for creating albums and songs in which the subject of every track is about being high or being with a girl. So, if you're not high or with a girl, this could be an instant turnoff. Lucky for me, I'm both. So what really is the problem with the lyrics in Chronchitis" Well, if every song is about the same thing, the lyrics become quite repetitive. Many times the same lines are recycled throughout songs. It's fun to listen to at first, but after the first twenty minutes or so, you either phase out or just turn off the music. Sadly, not even vocal performances by G. Love, Guru of Gangstar, Angelo Moore of Fishbone and Money Mark could save the bland lyrics. Sometimes it's impossible to even notice that the vocalist has changed. Other times, such as the case in Baby I Like It, when G. Love enters the scene, he keeps on ranting about the same thing that the lead singer is rambling about, and we completely forget that he's the special guest. At least on the other albums when the lyrics were bland and endless, the music was outstanding. So, this has to be the case on Chronchitis, right"
Well, yes and no. If you've heard the performance by the dual guitarists in Acoustic Roots: Live and Direct, you can understand the kind of ability these guys have. The duo guitar playing in that album is about as good as it gets. Sadly, it seems Chronchitis is not living up to its potential. Little tidbits and licks can be heard here and their, such as in 2am, but for the most part it seems the guitar's only purpose is backing up the drum beats, which are far short of fantastic. Luckily, all fans of the amazing acoustic guitars will not be displeased. The shining guitar moment comes in the form of a song properly entitled Jimi. Listen to that song and tell me the guitar is not outstanding. Sadly, this small moment is overshadowed by 16 other tracks of what seems to be the same song recycled over and over again. This is the major downfall of Chronchitis. All the other Stoopid album have chill songs like these, but they are mixed in with a number of other genres. Here, reggae is the one and only genre. Every song flows right into another, making it near impossible to tell where one song ends and the next begins. Thus, Chronchitis would make for good background music, maybe to be played in a dentist's office or an elevator. Too bad the explicit lyrics would not even let it get some play in these situations. It's fun to listen to in small portions, but over an hour of this is intolerable.
The one and only moment where Chronchitis really shines is in Girl U So Fine/Girl U So Fine Pt 2. And not even the whole song is great, only Part II. The boring drums have been discarded, the two vocalists finally duo, and out come the acoustic guitars. The solo is nothing short of euphoric. If you were to download one song from this album, I would definitely agree this would be it. Although little bits and pieces of classic Stoopid can be heard throughout the album, they are short and sometimes hard to catch. Unlike most artists, whose ventures out of their comfort zones fail miserably, it is only when Slightly Stoopid tries new things do they really achieve their moment of zen.
If nothing else, Chronchitis proves to be a great album to listen to on drugs. You'll forget about the bland music and repetitive lyrics. Maybe you'll find something fun about it, maybe it tastes good, or maybe the dog likes to chew and fetch it. Any of these seem to be good uses for the album; listening to it sure doesn't do the trick. This could be an album that takes more than four of five listens to appreciate, but that's doubtful. And so, yet another band with huge potential fails once again. It's a shame really, because I like this band. Oh well, better luck next time.