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Taken from glidemagazine (September 20, 2003)

Michael Franti & Spearhead: Everyone Deserves Music

by Shane Handler

Michael FrantiWith his 2001 release - Stay Human, Michael Franti brought his name further to the forefront of the music/political climate, touching on issues of media monopolization and incarceration. Layered upon a more soulful orchestrated sound, Franti displayed a new-sprung side, one mellower and not so in-your face, aside from his earlier days in the assaulting Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

Everyone Deserves Music- Michael Franti's first look through his outspoken eyes at post 9-11 America, continues on the path where his prior release "Stay Human" laid a spark in the socially conscious minds of music listeners. Continuing in that tradition, this effort fully allows his band Spearhead to shine. perhaps too much. Much of the credit is always given to Franti, but not enough to Spearhead, perhaps one of the tightest yet loosest bands on the planet. A band that incorporates accomplished reggae, dancehall, bossa nova, funk, soul, and afrobeat over Franti's politically and socially charged hip hop.

The first tune, "What I Be" drowns in a simile and metaphor picking patch. Comparing himself to everything from the sun, rains, mountains, fruits, seeds - Franti he even motions through a subliminal message about saving the world as "sex" - quite interesting however. "We Don't Stop" is 100% full cranked energy, featuring the Gift of Gag from Blackalicious and Spearhead's rapper/beatbox technician Radioactive - the number melds rock and rap with a irrefutable snap that tears apart all mentions of Capitalism and Bush....Young Republicans beware. While "Bomb the World" with it's prophetic lines of "You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace" is love it or hate it. "Bomb the World (Armegeddon Version) features reggae/funk giants Sly and Robbie over a metal guitar riff, that gives it's mellower counterpart a kick in the ass.

Everyone Deserves Music is more rooted in 70's funk/soul more so than any of Franti's prior efforts, and Jamiroqui seems more the appropriate opening act this time around than poets and hip hop acts. "Yes I Will" and "Love Invincible" groove with female background vocals, providing the album a dance fever feel. While "Feeling Free" is a powerful feel-good theme to self-empowerment while "Love Invicible" reflects on the band's fondness of Earth Wind & Fire.

Although with so many tastes of the disco ball and background singers, the lyrics often take a back seat. Franti's got something to say, and this album definitely spent a fair amount of time in the creation booth. However is comes out a winner because it is not cooked too rare to feel too new-age or too overdone to sound forced. For some fans, after listening long enough, you'll wish Franti goes on tour with the same bells and whistles from the studio, when he begins an ambitiously long tour this fall in support of Everyone Deserves Music.


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