The Johnny we love is back!
Nicholas Carroll | Portland OR United States | 12/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After 2002's new sound of his "New World Survivor" release, I thought he was moving away from his signature sound (the mix of zulu chanting and rhythms with western pop rock), but his latest is an encouraging welcome back to the sound he perfected in 1997's "Crocodile Love" cd. While I disagree with a previous reviewer that "New World Survivor" lacked any songs with a memorable hook (it had three such irresistable songs: "Colours of Change", "Into the Picture", and "New World Survivor") or that his latest cd also lacks any truly memorable songs. No, this cd is full of songs that I can't sit still to!
The most single-worthy song is "The Revolution will eat its children". If you can ignore for a minute the oddness of the title, it has a catchy rhythm and a very hip "echo" effect on the word "gun", which I don't think I've ever heard in any song before. The song deserves to be the first single released, to remind listeners that Johnny is back in fine form. Other irresistable songs include "Thamela", "Makhabeleni", "Utshani Obulele" (my personal favourite song on this cd), and "Four Box Square" (about the relative sameness of the towns/cities he travels in on tour). The other single worthy songs are "I Don't Want to Be Away" (where he laments about being away from his wife while touring with his band) and "Locked and Loaded" (which sounds like a violent song, but is really about a man making the commitment to marriage). Both songs are quite catchy and would play well on radio, even the rather narrow minded American ones.
In addition to 15 new songs, we get to hear Johnny sing in Afrikaans ("Thamela--Die son trek water") and French ("Faut pas baisser les bras") for the first time. And the classic Johnny sound I mentioned earlier? He has that "ho-hum-oh-hum" chant going on in one of his songs that is easily recognizeable to older songs of his. All of this was missing on his last cd, when he experimented with a new sound (similar to Madonna's post Evita sound). All I can say is, welcome back, Johnny! I never get tired of his "old sound" because he finds ways of making it sound fresh again. If I wanted to hear Madonna-esque melodies, I'd buy her cds, but Johnny has something unique that no one else can offer, so if Johnny no longer offers that unique sound, what are fans left with? So, please support Johnny by getting this CD! And if he tours North America to promote this cd, go see his tour. You won't regret it. It'll be the most energized show you'll ever see."
Great Job, Johnny!
Vortexman | Sedona, AZ | 05/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How refreshing when an artist comes back well into his career to produce an album that can stand up to the best of his work. This album contains several tracks that pop out as instant Johnny Clegg classics at the first listen, and others that grow on you with subsequent listenings, all with interesting lyrics. Other reviews in this section have described the music eloquently. The CD booklet contains lyrics and translations of key phrases into English when he sings in other languages, so I'd recommend getting the CD rather than downloading. One of the big mysteries to me is why Clegg is not a household-name superstar in the States & Canada. His music is infectious, and his concerts are uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable, with the audience up and dancing through most of the show. I was thrilled when he came to the city near where I vacation for shows in the summers of '04 and '05. Amazingly, neither show was sold out at smallish venues, but the crowds were most enthusiastic and appreciative. What will it take to 'spread the word' about Johnny Clegg after all these years?"