A Funk Odyssey



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
February 21st, 2005 | 6 replies

Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Jamiroquai is a group with their feet firmly planted in the funk-era of the 70s even though its brainchild, Jason Kay (from here on referenced as J.K.) was just a child at the height of the funk movement. Born in Manchester, England, J.K. was raised by his mother, a nightclub jazz singer, which likely influenced his style alot.

On his own and homeless at the age of 15, J.K. ended up in jail several times and at one point was almost murdered before he decided to return home and compose music. He came up with the name Jamiroquai from the word jam combined with the native American tribe the Iroquais.

By the time he was 23, J.K. was catching the eye of record labels, and in 1992, he released his debut single "When You Gonna Learn?". His backing band has changed from record to record, of which he has five total LPs. A Funk Odyssey is his latest LP, released in 2001.

The album fuses latin influences with elements of disco, funk, classic rock, and J.K.'s natural ability to create an incredible set of dance tunes. Being the fifth LP, the group sounds very polished and mature and as a result there are no lulls on the album at all.

Jason Kay
Toby Smith
Beverley Knight
Nick Fyffe

Notable Songs:
"Feel So Good" begins with a soft breeze fades in, creating a feeling of calm before a shimmering synth comes in to lead into the funky bass which hits right before the one minute mark. The highlight is on the chorus of "Feels good and it feels so good" when it really gets funky and I just want to dance around the room. The lyrics are about space and shit, but that isn't what's important. The importance is placed on the funky beats and spacey synths. A perfect album opener.

"Little L" is the first single of the record I believe. It begins immediately with a funky bass line before a series of spacey synths envelop the song. There is also this catchy simple guitar riff at the end of every line. The chorus doesn't take long to come in with "Why does it have to be like this? I can never tell. You make me love you love you baby with a little L." J.K.'s vocals fit the pace of the song and blend with the funky bass to create a more relaxed chill song. Still danceable, but not over the top. This is one of my favorites on the album.

"Corner of the Earth" starts off very different from anything else to this point. It is more guitar based and folky with some rock influences which is a good change of pace. The prechorus contains some great background harmonization and the vocals are cool like "natures got me high and it's so beautiful", and the chorus is great as well. This is not a club type dance song, but more of a song to dance close with your girl to. It is also a really good feel good song and is the prettiest on the album. This is the one I would choose as tops on the album.

"Love Foolosophy" is back to funky town and danceable grooves. This sounds just like your typical dance club tune, but it is very catchy and a good track. I know it is generic, but there is something about it that just makes it stick in my head and it is infectious and not a track that can be easily dismissed. The instrumentation is just synths with repetitive simple guitar licks and a pounding bass drum. Good stuff.

"Black Crow" begins with a soft acoustic guitar being plucked lightly. There is also a faint spacey noise. As J.K's vocals come in the guitar is strummed in time with the vocals. After the first verse the chorus is accompanied by a stronger sounding spacey synth with some female background hamonized vocals. The vocals are done in a spoken/sung/spoken/sung style that is effective. There are a few guitar solo riffs spread out here and there after the second chorus and then some faint female vocals are heard with just the beautiful mix of soft instruments. Overall this is another departure from the disco dance sound that is on much of the album, and it is a pretty song too.

Recommended for fans of:
Stevie Wonder
Primal Scream
Sly & the Family Stone

This is a pretty good record. Sure there are better albums out there, including better records in the genre and even better Jamiroquai records. But there is no denying the amount of quality songs that are on this album. This is definately not for everyone as many people want nothing to do with dance music at all, and they would obviously not like this, but in the genre it is a 4 or 4.5. I am giving it a 3.5/5 because it has been a frequent visitor to my cd player for several years and it never gets old.

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user ratings (172)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 23rd 2005


Good rewiew,and good info about his life....i agree with the rating..i prefer other jamiroquai's albums,such as emergency on planet heart or travelling without moving....

Zesty Mordant
February 28th 2005


good review, jamiroquai owns. as for this album, it was alright but not as good as travelling with out moving. however, this album definately does have its moments- my favorites are "main vein", "black crow", "stop dont panic" and "picture of my life".

i had this album too and i lost it. damn.

December 30th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review

This album has a more polished feel than its predecessors, but it doesnt quite hit epic status like Space Cowboy and Emergency.

Really, really good album though, the pop orientated vibe just makes them more addictive than ever

March 27th 2006


Jamiroquai are so funky and uplifting. Travelling without moving is their best effort.

Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

i like this the same as Travelling Without Moving.

This record has tremendous flow.

January 29th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

I really want to hate this based on the fact that it's the beginning of their descent into "Jay Kay solo dance-pop act", but goddamn if this doesn't have the absolute best hooks I've ever heard in pop music. Kay really has that ear to him for details and what makes mainstream stuff click.

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