FUNK / FUNK ROCK / Jamiroquai

Dynamite – JAMIROQUAI – 2005

Warning: This here music is funky shit.

I’d never been a fan of Jamiroquai, partly because it seemed to be a vehicle for the lead singer’s ego (and the matching hat) and partly because that is a stupid try-too-hard name for a band…..any band.

Egomaniac……Jamiroquai is a band, not a solo project.

However, the music is unique. It’s basically a hybrid of Funk ,Jazz and Electronica packaged in a shiny pop packaging. Cynical? I’m not sure, ’cause the music is too damn good to be cynical. Yes, half the lyrics are often vapid, while the other half are about environmentalism, but the grooves are just so tight and danceable so as to preclude any illusions of it being manufactured.

Sample the first track “Feels like it should”. That’s a ruthless hunk of electro-dance-pop goodness, guaranteed to get thy booty moving. And while there are mis-steps on the way, it is quite remarkable that some 15 years after the first album, this band continues to put out funky, danceable music thats unique in the current pop landscape. Kudos.

As you would expect for such a band, the central instrument in Jamiroquai music is the electric bass. And their bassists have always been at the heart of Jamiroquai music. The multiple bassists on this album have managed electro-thump on “Electric Mistress” and “Feels like it should”. But they have also managed a slightly string-noise laden sound on some songs, notably “Dynamite” . Another significant element is the jazz. It ensures that the chord-changes sound nothing like the common-as-turds changes on electro-pop stuff like Kesha or the three chord ‘punk’ stuff that seems to relentlessly ruin conceptions of real music on the air these days. I certainly hope that Jamiroquai are more influential in the long run than that Fell Out of the Boy band, or whatever that is. Sadly, I’m pretty sure they won’t.  

Warning: This here is funky shit.

I'm not sure whether the members in this picture are the current members 'cause you know, I have never seem 'em.

The best tune on the album is undoubtedly “Don’t Give Hate A Chance”. It’s very danceable, and what a bassline! Also “Starchild”, which is driven by the bass and the ridiculously funky riffing of the Clavinet, is worth a listen.

Flaws? I do think lead singer Jay Kay could try, after so many years in the spotlight, to NOT sing like Stevie Wonder. He’s managed to escape ridicule so far on that account, but I do implore him to just try and step out of that rut. Also, there are some pretty weak tracks in “Black Devil Car” and “Talulah”. Avoidable.

In the final stretch of tallying points, however, this album continues to be from a band that defies categorization in mainstream music. Just check out some of their older hits, and you will see how their chord changes, vocal melodies and jazzy influences give them a space no other band occupies. For that reason alone, Jamiroquai deserves praise. This sounds right.

 – El Bajista

For more JAMIROQUAI reviews, go HERE.

For more FUNK/FUNK ROCK reviews, go HERE.



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