Though Daniel Merriweather may be best known in the US as the remarkably soulful voice behind "Stop Me" (a standout track from DJ/producer Mark Ronson's eclectic album Version that went to #1 on the UK's airplay chart), th... more »e 27-year-old Melbourne native firmly establishes himself as a solo artist in his own right on Love & War which pulses with '60s soul keyboards and horns, warm textures of acoustic and electric guitar, and cinematic string arrangements, all anchored by Merriweather's combustible vocals. Love & War is also a showcase for Merriweather's considerable songwriting talents. He wrote nearly every song on the album with various musician friends and then presented his compositions to Ronson (who produced the album) and his backing band, The Dap Kings, who also played on Amy Winehouse's Back To Black and Ronson's Version.« less
Though Daniel Merriweather may be best known in the US as the remarkably soulful voice behind "Stop Me" (a standout track from DJ/producer Mark Ronson's eclectic album Version that went to #1 on the UK's airplay chart), the 27-year-old Melbourne native firmly establishes himself as a solo artist in his own right on Love & War which pulses with '60s soul keyboards and horns, warm textures of acoustic and electric guitar, and cinematic string arrangements, all anchored by Merriweather's combustible vocals. Love & War is also a showcase for Merriweather's considerable songwriting talents. He wrote nearly every song on the album with various musician friends and then presented his compositions to Ronson (who produced the album) and his backing band, The Dap Kings, who also played on Amy Winehouse's Back To Black and Ronson's Version.
"Cuz Amazon only goes up to 5! This guy sounds like Marvin Gaye meets Teddy Pendergrass - for real. And the songs - this kid has songwriting chops that match his pipes. Absolutely top-notch 60's soul with a touch of Beatles and The Band thrown in for good measure. Fresh, amazing, and so far, unspoken. Call me an instant fan."
Amazing voice! Exceptional talent!
Adrienne | Florida | 03/28/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely love Daniel Merriweather! Listening to his voice is addictive, and I can't stop listening to this CD! He has a voice comparable to Stevie Wonder, and that says a lot! He deserves more praise and attention for his amazing voice! My favorite songs are "Giving Everything Away for Free", "Red", "Water and a Flame" featuring another amazing vocalist, Adele. Everyone should buy this album! You won't be able to stop listening to it!"
"Love & War" is good, but not great
Lucky Sevens | Tiger Town, Alabama | 03/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Austrailia is well known for rock & roll (INXS, AC/DC, Midnight Oil), and until recently, soul music. Enter Daniel Merriweather, who a couple of years ago, sang the lead vocals on Mark Ronson's cover of The Smiths' "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before". Although that was his first exposure to people, his actual debut was on Ronson's first album, 2003's "Here Comes The Fuzz" on the song "She's Got Me". After a long wait, he releases his debut album "Love & War" which was produced by Ronson except for two songs- the Adele duet "Water And A Flame" and "Giving Away Everything For Free"- which were helmed by Eg White. The album sometimes delves into social commentary, as evidenced on the songs "The Children", "For Your Money" and the first single "Change". Oftentimes, Daniel sounds like Terence Trent D'Arby doing his best Donny Hathaway impression. Other times, he sounds like a male version of Nikka Costa- appropriate being that her debut album "Everybody Got Their Something" was also produced by Ronson. For the most part, it's a good album, but the production overpowers his voice most of the time- which is sad because he has something of substance to sing about."
Superb; A 'Tour de Force'
Musac Critic | 03/01/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One might argue that to some extent, the traditional R&B album is a thing of the past. Only few exceptions to this have occurred in recent times that have evoked both commercial and critical success. The most notable of 2008 was Anthony Hamilton's exceptional The Point Of It All; in 2009, it was Maxwell's Grammy-award winning BLACKsummers'night. In 2010, it seems as if true, more traditionally conceived R&B albums are the trend, with chart-topping, critically praised efforts from Sade and Jaheim, who in particular has refined his 'ghetto-R&B' into more adult leaning territory. Daniel Merriweather's U.S. debut Love & War is yet another traditional R&B and one of 2010's very best albums, period. Sure, we're early into the year, but Merriweather's album will certainly be remembered by fans and critics by the year's end. Merriweather, indigenous to Australia, brings his A-game on this retro-/neo- soul masterpiece. Sure, there are some infusions of soft-rock/pop, but predominately, this is an outright, soul album. Sad to say, so many of the U.S. R&B artists are more concerned with the infusion of hip-hop into the R&B, often times convoluting it into the 'same song'. That isn't to say that retro-soul artists sometimes dabble to much in the past, but there is something to be learned from the past that delivered classic hits and a signature sound. Amy Winehouse certainly knows with the 5 Grammys she received for her vintage soul/traditional pop effort Back to Black. But this is about Daniel, who delivers what is most likely to be the 'sleeper' R&B album of 2010.
Produced by Winehouse hipster producer Mark Ronson, 'Love & War' features a sound that is far removed from radio in 2010, making an outright commercial hit from this album a longshot. But let's not forget "Rehab". The album opens up with the soul-laden, pop/rock masterwork "For Your Money", a left-field track mixed somewhere between 70s Stevie Wonder, Elton John, or Billy Joel. Infectious by all means, one with an old soul will undoubtedly question, "why doesn't music still sound like this." Ornate in the sense of progression (no simple chords here), the track is refreshing because it isn't traditional in the sense of today's standards. The guitars sound like they are directly from a Pink Floyd album. Merriweather and Ronson hit the opening track out of the park. The vocal performance shows unrequited brilliance in my eyes as Merriweather has some mad pipes on him.
"Impossible" features more vintage production from Ronson as well as exceptional vocal performance from Merriweather. Again, the songwriting is on point and there is more authenticity about a performance such as this in comparison to Top 40 based R&B (not dissing it, but looking beyond it). A track like "Impossible" sounds like an extension of 70s soul, more so than some of radio's hits today. "Change", featuring up and coming rapper Wale straddles the best of both worlds, providing a commercial single and also respecting classic soul with its piano-laden production work. It is by far one of my favorites from an album that has no misses. While "Chainsaw" doesn't stand out as much as the first three tracks, it is by all means above average, and it's vintage production could've easily appeared on an Al Green album. As always, Merriweather "brings the heat". "Cigarettes", which straddles pop/R&B soulfully entices the listener to hit the rewind button over and over. Clever songwriting make this non-standard R&B song topic work extremely well. One of my favorites.
"Red" keeps up the momentum, again leaning just enough pop and just enough R&B. One of the best written songs of the album, none can deny the catchiness of the hook. Many songwriters will say to themselves, 'why didn't I come up with this hook?' "Could You" is solid as all else, though "Not Giving Up" shines more, with it's 60s R&B production work and one of Merriweather's most enticing vocal performance. "Getting Out" is the 70s exemplified, while the duet between Merriweather and Adele ("Water and A Flame") has the perfect chemistry. A brilliant collaboration if I do say so myself.
"Live By Night" again plays on the seventies pop-soul feel that made opening track "For Your Money" so effective. The vocal performance sounds appropriate and the production work is some of the best I've heard in some time. Again, a non-standard harmonic progression, in the vein of Stevie Wonder or Billy Joel helps to make this song sound so refreshing. "Giving Everything Away For Free" and "The Children" aren't particularly the shining spots of the album, but both are great representations of Merriweather's prodigious talents. This album is superb by all means in my eyes. I highly recommend it to those who love traditional R&B/soul sans hip-hop influences."
It's hard not to love these Nu-Soul gems ! A new star is bor
for jazz music's sake | Warsaw, Poland | 02/24/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having been discovered busking on the streets of Melbourne, it has only taken a few years for Daniel to release his debut album, "Love & War". He was championed by Mark Ronson, on whose debut album "Versions" Daniel sung the vocals on a couple of tracks, two years back. Daniel's big break came with the vocals of the hit "Stop Me", a Motown variation of The Smiths song. And it's no surprise that the Ronson-produced "Love & War" picks up where the pair left off. On this album, Daniel has collected a number of songs that are immediately catchy but, more importantly, will remain catchy rather than become the repetitive annoyances of many other pop songs. The hypnotic beats of Impossible then ensue as Merriweather's vocal acrobatics and his backing vocalist's doowops create a thoroughly old school, Motown vibe. A great singing voice that has an intriguing edge to it that makes you feel he should, and probably will, go far. "Love & War is a mixture of funky beats and soulful, sun-soaked retro sounds - the perfect showcase for Daniel's soaring voice. There are loads of highlights: the single, "Red", is beautiful and "Cigarettes" is bluesy and lovely. He is so naturally gifted, and just opening his mouth in the vocal booth can let loose some laryngeal magic, the Australian can sometimes sound semi-detached, especially on the tracks (Chainsaw, Getting Out) that bear too smothering an imprint of Ronson's commercial soul and the predictable sense of politesse that can convey. Elsewhere, though, and beautifully so, Merriweather throws back his head and lets fly on nu-soul gems such as "For Your Money" and the aforementioned "Red", swooning through melodies indebted to Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke et al, and, because he's not cruising, absolutely nailing the song. The flagship track, the radio smash "Change" - with its contagious 'la-la-la-las', sing-song delivery and slick raps from Wale - sounds more like a John Legend collaboration with Kanye West: the rap and soul elements are absolutely flawless. The other partnership features the critically acclaimed soul sister Adele. They duet in "Water and A Flame", a heart-warming ballad which can catch you out if/when you suddenly stop to take it all in : a song that proves to be another wise move - her magnificent set of pipes compliment Merriweather's husky, smoky tones perfectly. The album is distint, surprising, enjoyable, strong, catchy. One word: gorgeous. Do you remember when we first listened to Amy Winehouse's Back to Black? Well, we are here on the same territory. A new star is born. This CD will be your summer's soundtrack! Do You Want the Truth Or Something Beautiful