I’m not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV.
With the latest Michael Franti & Spearhead undertaking, you can go ahead and skip your daily dosage of Prozac (consult a real doctor before discontinuing your medications)
When compared to the prior albums The Sound of Sunshine offers a change many have grown accustomed to. This variation may cause some diehard fans of the previous releases to slightly cringe. To this I have to say hang on one moment.
This wasn’t your typical sit-down with big label record execs in expensive suits saying “You! Write something catchy!” No, instead, this happy and optimistic sound came from deep within.
While on tour Michael’s appendix ruptured. Two weeks later, he was released from the hospital with a determination to reevaluate his priorities. Examining the current dark cloud looming over the nation and world, he opted to break through with some sunshine. Pun fully intended.
Rather than having a deep seeded reggae-like vibe, as was with prior albums, there is an infusion of a variety of styles. From slightly reggae, to borderline dance hall, to using a sample of U2 we’re given a plethora of options. I couldn’t help but want to get up and dance to every song. Infectious is an understatement.
SoS, compared to their other albums, reveals that, if you so choose, there is a time to be an activist, however, if you fight your whole life for change without stopping to look around once and a while, then you truly can miss out on some of the wonderful things that are right in front of your face.
Equipped with plenty of feel good, motivating lyrics, the almost gospel like sound that emanates from the album beginning to end invokes an uplifting feeling of joy that is rather difficult to shake. The message very clear, live life well in the here and now, love the people you hold dear and enjoy every moment because you never know what tomorrow holds.
This album is has now embedded itself in my library as a life vest for feel good tunes. The only downfall I can see is that it really makes me want to skip work and go find a beach party on an island somewhere.
Side note worth mentioning: After touring around the world Michael kicked off his shoes and committed to going barefoot in recognition of those who could not afford any. Ten years later he still walks around this sometimes dark world and takes stage shoeless to spread that sunshine. For their The Sound of Sunshine tour Michael Franti and Spearhead teamed up with Soles4Souls for a nine city “Barefoot Concert Series” where fans could donate shoes or money for the charity that is very near and dear to Michael’s heart.