Surf N' Turf

- Philip Cu-Unjieng () - July 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The two CDs today come from everyone’s favorite singing surfer dude Jack Johnson; and the new kid from England, trying to establish his turf on the R ‘n B block, Taio Cruz. For those who haven’t had much exposure to either artist, they come from very different genres, but the common denominator is the strong music to be found on both CDs.

Jack Johnson — To the Sea (MCA Music Inc.). Former pro surfer born in Hawaii, and now celebrated singer/songwriter with music that reflects a laidback lifestyle with deep concern for the environment and the oceans — that pretty much sums up Jack Johnson’s music. Stripped down acoustic was what Johnson is known for, but on this CD there’s more texture to the arrangements, with blues and gentle rock rearing their heads. At or With Me and Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology are my two current fave tracks. As to the charge that owning one Johnson CD means you have them all, I will admit there is some truth to that, but this one has a more evolved feel to it. More serious than usual, this is very earnest music. Great for lazing around on a sunny afternoon.

Taio Cruz — Rokstarr (MCA Music Inc.). Producer/songwriter, and now performer in Timbaland fashion, British artist Taio Cruz has a big hit on his hands with Break Your Heart, where he’s joined by Ludacris — and that begs the question, is there a single R ‘n B CD out there that doesn’t have the L-man guesting on some track? On Dirty Picture, it’s Kesha, and the CD is full of very agreeable tracks, my concern has more to do with Taio’s identity. Close your eyes and as the tracks roll by, I was so sure I heard him channeling the Peas, Akon, Craig David, and a host of other surefire R ‘n B acts. Having said that, I must admit he does it very well, and so there is some satisfaction gained listening to this CD. I am curious to see how he evolves with subsequent releases.

AKON BREAK YOUR HEART CRAIG DAVID DIRTY PICTURE JACK JOHNSON MUSIC INC TAIO CRUZ TO THE SEA WITH ME AND RED WINE
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