Thursday, April 06, 2006

Van Hunt - On The Jungle Floor

Holy shit. I know it's pretty cliche of a blog to use hyperbole, but once again I gotta say it. Holy shit. I dug Van Hunt a lot the first time around. His self-titled debut released in 2004 was a very solid effort and had a few tracks that would help to break him away from being lumped in with all the other inauthentic, over-produced neo-soul flavors of the month. The choruses on "Dust" (a top 10 single of the year for me) and "Hold My Hand" shimmered vibrantly and more cheerily than most modern soul does nowadays. But for his latest album, On The Jungle Floor, which was just released this Tuesday, Mr. Hunt fulfills the promise he showed on Van Hunt and clearly stakes a claim for the title of soul's boy wonder. D'Angelo is too busy gaining weight and smoking weed. Maxwell hasn't been heard from since 2001. And as much as I love Anthony Hamilton, he's a one-trick pony, ladies and gentlemen. In what is typical of sophomore albums, Hunt expands his sound, runninng the gamut from smooth funk to even some pyschedelic rock. It's clearly no surprise why Van Hunt was one of the few artists to escape Sly's Grammy tribute unscathed. This album proves that he is the real deal and one of today's true progenies of Sly's sound (instead of say, Ciara or the guy from LFO). On The Jungle Floor is the first album I've heard this year that has chiseled its place on my top 20. The two tracks that I'm digging the most are "The Thrill Of This Love," which probably has the most soaring hook on the whole album and seems like the kind of would-be single that everyone except for America could embrace. "Hot Stage Lights" is the album cover come to life. Suave, sexy, smoldering and funky. Just check out the man's threads in that picture. If there was ever a wikipedia entry on being the shit, Van Hunt would have several links on it. It's beyond clear that he's the man of the year.

The Thrill Of This Love
Hot Stage Lights

You can also buy the album here at Amazon

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