Album review

Common - Electric Circus

The Sgt Pepper-style cover suggests a counterpart to OutKast's Stankonia, but Common's emphasis is more on social and historical awareness. Tracks like "Aquarius" and "Star'69 (PS With Love)" recall the utopian psychedelic soul of Rotary Connection—though the lyrics are firmly rooted in reality—but the fabric stretches from the wonderfully seductive "Come Close" duet with Mary J Blige to the brilliantly askew deployment of Stereolab in "New Wave". "Jimi Was A Rock Star", featuring Erykah Badu, is a fabulous freeform mantra and one of the best Hendrix tributes extant.

To be filed alongside the Roots' recent Phrenology.

Rating: 4 / 10


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The 35th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Weird serendipities aplenty this week: versions of "O, Death" on two albums I downloaded one after another, by Mike & Cara Gangloff and Bessie Jones; dovetailing into Sea Island overlap between Jones and Loscil. It makes for a nice blurring between time and genre with, say, the Gangloffs...