Michael Franti & Spearhead – The Sound of Sunshine
1.) The Sound Of Sunshine
2.) Shake It
3.) Hey Hey Hey
4.) Anytime You Need Me
5.) I’ll Be Waiting
6.) The Only Thing Missing Was You
7.) Love Don’t Wait
8.) The Thing That Helps Me Get Through
11.) The Sound Of Sunshine Going Down
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: September 20th, 2010
Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
The Sound of Sunshine marks Michael Franti and Spearhead’s seventh studio album of feel-good soul infused with rock and roll and acoustic melodies. The five-piece band is motivated by real life experiences and the nature of the global society. Their 2006 album Yellfire was used as the soundtrack to Franti’s own film titled I Know I Am not Alone, where he converted his experiences in the Gaza Strip, Israel, Baghdad, and the West Bank to messages of hope and rising awareness of a common global goal. Franti and Spearhead have gained a worldwide audience through their involvement with powerful social media outlets such as Democracy Now, furthermore through constantly touring in addition to Franti’s production of the annual Power to the Peaceful music festival that has taken place since 1998. .
This album truly is what it reads as sunshine is often used as a metaphor for positivity. Franti took a different route to the ears of listeners with this release, infusing more pop than in any previous albums. Michael Franti and Spearhead cross-tabulated his social activist role in society with his musical orientation and ability. Except with this album Franti and the gang dipped deeper into the pop genre.
This album wholly reminds me of “that one song” you would hear in a Toyota commercial and consequently add to your MP3 player. I cannot believe this album has not made it on major if not national radio yet. It is the kind of sound that the radio desires. The album is encrypted in happiness and positivity; if Jack Johnson and U2 had a child, it would be Michael Franti and Spearhead’s The Sound of Sunshine.
I’ve read up and learned that Michael Franti was in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery after his appendix burst in summer of 2009. This was much of the motivation behind The Sound Of Sunshine. It is why Franti shifted once-heavy politically charged messages to these upbeat anthems of happiness. The album begins with a Caribbean influenced song. Titled the same as the album, he set the basic feel of the album with the first song. I think it is the showcase, and the album ends with a slowed down acoustic version of the same song, instead titled The Sound Of Sunshine Going Down. The second track Shake It, is just as impressive, and the first sign of reggae is noticeable. The offbeat keyboards and walking basslines accompany Franti’s vocals that put the spotlight on his female counterpart. A bird in the sky you make me feel like a flyer. The song is full of hooks. I’ll be Waiting is another inspirational and catchy song—sounds like it came right off a U2 album however.
Nothing like a good album to resort to when you are in the dumps. I love the transition in message composition that Franti encompassed in The Sound of Sunshine. There are two types of listeners in this world—those who listen for a meaningful message and those who listen for the musical vibe. Both listeners will be impressed by the conglomeration of Franti’s messages and the upbeat, driven rhythms.
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]