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Taken from NewsOK (October 8, 2010)

CD Review: Michael Franti & Spearhead "The Sound of Sunshine"

by Brandy McDonnell

Michael FrantiIt may well be impossible to sit still while listening to Michael Franti & Spearhead's new album, "The Sound of Sunshine." Heads bob, toes tap and hips sway almost of their own accord to the reggae-pop bounce.

Just in time for fall, Franti says "hey" again with a summery collection of 11 tracks. The life-affirming "Hey Hey Hey" proves nearly as infectious as 2009's "Say Hey (I Love You)," the band's first big commercial hit.

The chorus — "Hey, hey, hey, no matter how life is today / There's just one thing that I got to say / I won't let another moment slip away" — encapsulates the hopeful gratitude shimmering through the album, the seventh studio effort for Franti with Spearhead.

Franti, formerly of the punk band The Beatnigs and hip-hop outfit The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, wrote and co-wrote many of the songs last year after he nearly died from a burst appendix.

With vocal assistance from Jamaican singer Lady Saw, first single "Shake It" not only urges listeners to dance, it also encourages them to accept their flaws. Partially recorded in Jamaica, the album is heavily seasoned with reggae flavors, from the carefree whistling on the friendship anthem "Anytime You Need Me" to the buoyant beats of the earnest ballad "The Only Thing Missing Was You."

The title track and the album-closing reprise offer the ideal soundtrack for spending a relaxed day at the beach, or for just dreaming about one.

The album may seem like lighthearted fluff compared to Franti's previous socially conscious and politically outspoken work, but taken for what it is, the record perfectly bottles "The Sound of Sunshine."


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