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Carnival Vol. 2: Memoirs Of An Immigrant
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|2. Riot (featuring Serj Tankian and Sizzla)|
|3. Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) (featuring Akon, Lil Wayne and introducing Niia)|
|4. Welcome To The East (featuring Sizzla)|
|5. Slow Down (featuring T.I.)|
|6. King & Queen (featuring Shakira)|
|7. Fast Car (featuring Paul Simon)|
|8. What About The Baby (featuring Mary J. Blige)|
|9. Hollywood Meets Bollywood (Immigration) (featuring Chamillionaire)|
|10. Any Other Day (featuring Norah Jones)|
|11. Heaven's In New York|
|12. Selena (featuring Melissa Jimenez)|
|13. Touch Your Button Carnival Jam (featuring Will.I.Am, Melissa Jimenez, Machel Montano, Daniela Mercury, Black Alex, Djkout Mizik)|
2007 release, the sixth studio album from The Fugees' Wyclef Jean. The first single will be "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" which features Akon, Niia Bertino and Lil' Wayne. Other guests include Selena, Mary J. Blige, Paul Simon, Chamillionaire, Shakira, T.I., T-Pain, will.i.am and Serj Tankian of System Of A Down.
Because Wyclef Jean is a more skilled eraser of musical boundaries than most, his sixth solo record skips through pop, hip-hop, dance, reggae, and rock without sounding like some crazy, over-ambitious jumble. All the way through, context--this being a continuation of the 1997 disc The Carnival and all the keen-eyed social chronicling that came with it--keeps a listener on course. But don't dip into Carnival II expecting to come away with a tweaked conscience and not a lot more; though the songwriting is all serious business ("What About the Baby," with the always on-point and powerful Mary J. Blige, brings a domestic drama memorably to life, and "Welcome to the East" fixes binoculars on violence and doesn't flinch), Wyclef keeps a serious mood at arm's length throughout a lot of this material. In that way, songs like "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)," with Akon, feel energized by an activist's sensibility, but escape falling down the rabbit hole of bummer-dom. Lightness prevails, in fact, where you'd least expect it: "Fast Car," with Paul Simon, makes its point with positivity, hope, and a vibe that can only be described as cool, and "Riot," with the supremely gifted Serj Tankian, will get you body-rockin' and bent out of shape all at once. --Tammy La Gorce
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Jean's a producer at heart, and it's always shown. Relying on the collaborative effort to produce his visions has always worked well for him, and this album is no exception. A huge issue in production, however, is knowing when to stop.
Almost every one of Jean's songs feels like a mess. There's energy and passion, but there is no clarity to it. Mixing genres is fine, but the plan wasn't realized here, and just taking the different musical styles and throwing them into a blender isn't going to be enough.
For all the passion, talent, and exploration here, there just wasn't enough planning.
The collaborations on this party album have matched voices no one else would ever attempt...Wyclef and Norah Jones??? Paul Simon??? Wow. Shakira leaves her imprint as does Mary J. Blige, but they're regulars.
More impressive to me is Clef's ability to weave the legendary voice of Sizzla Kalonji into this record. Sizzla doesn't disappoint, but he might get outshined by Akon and Weezy on "Sweetest Girl," or by Chamillionaire on "Hollywood Meets Bollywood." See, Wyclef knows there are billions of potential fans in India, so he puts some wicked bhangra on his record. He knows Mexicans love music, so he sings a tribute to Selena, accompanied by the impressive Melissa Jimenez.
This may be part two of the multicultural masterpiece Wyclef dropped on Carnival, but it's decidedly less Carribean, and less emotional. Now you hear juicy beats and pumping bass, even the intense ramblings of Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Wyclef is a mad chemist!
Just wait for the finale, the 13-minute "Touch Your Button" Carnival extravaganza, the surest way to drive totally across town riding Clef's raucous riddims. Now let's see Wyclef lead the way to solve problems in Haiti and everywhere else where people starve.
Wyclef is still a lyrical genius but I think I only heard "a few" songs where he sings, & Fast Car is probably my favorite on the cd. The message is in the music on this cd, but like past ones the music is not the message on this one. I think the only issue I did not hear Wyclef mention was possibly gun control. His lyrics/ message was subtle yet very intelligent, but the way it was portrayed was just so pop that I don't know how long this cd will stay in my 6 disc changer. If wyclef wanted to get his messages out to as many different markets as possible he very much succeeded. I'm sure there is a track that could be played in just about every country in every continent off this album. I know that in order to make money today your records have to sound like pop, so if this is what Wyclef was trying to accomplish I'm sure he will make lots of money. I just hope Wyclef's new style doesn't rub off on Sizzla Kalonji.
I don't recall ever hearing a cd with so many different genres on it. This cd should have been called Wyclef & Friends. I like lots of different genres, but they were just all sort of a blend of pop once mixed with the other genres. Wyclef in my opinion could have made all of these songs and just had the other artist release them on their own cd's, and then came out with his own cd. There must have been 8 or 9 different genres on this cd, but overall it will get filed under pop. I'm sure the ipod generation will eat it up though and all the Akon fans will be thrilled. Its just sad to me that in order to make money today you have to have T-pain or Akon on the hook.
By the title of the albums it's obvious that Immigration issues is in focus here, and by listening to the album alot of songs seems to deal with the issue. Thus, the songwriting is in focus even if the music is as good as always. Wyclef wants to remind us that USA was built by Immigration and the recent trend is no diffrent from the past. Some lyrics can be seen as self autobiographical, others dedicated to people in simular situations, but there's some pure party songs aswell. The first song is a short intro where Wyclef is suppostely writing music. He say things are changing and the world is in panic. His daughter can briefly be heard here. Second song "Riot (Trouble Again)" continue where the intro left. It feature dancehall singer Sizzla and Serj Tankian from System of Down and it's more or less a Rock song with great guitar riffs and high intensity. "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" deals with a girl that used to be good at school that ruined her life by turning to stripping. It feautures Akon singing the hook and Lil Wayne that actually makes a suitable verse here. It's the first single and really good. Sizzla comes back on "Welcome To the East" with a mid eastern sound. After producing "You Know What It Is" and "My Swag" from T.I's last album, he returns the favour with "Slow Down" and their duet works out really well. It's a rhythmic uptempo with good lyrics. The same thing happens when Shakira join in on "King & Queens" which is one of the highlights. "Fast Car" is my favorite song, it features Paul Simon! of all people. Wyclef starts by making reference to Kanye's songs "Jesus Walks" and "Through The Wire" and ends up writing some of the best lyrics he ever made. My guess is that it's about how we can die anytime. "You gotta be no billionaire/To get a ticket up to the moon/We all know somebody up there/You need a helping hand". In a later verse he also make a refernce to Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes that died in a car accident in Honduras some years ago. On the most soulish song of this album "What About The Baby", we find Mary J Blige back. This song is about fathers that aren't around for their children. "Hollywood meets Bollywood" an indian sounding song that deals with immigration and the multi ethnical society and Wyclef talk about how America was built by immigrants. Chamillionaire "sings" the hook and drop a guest verse aswell. It sounds really good even if it's too diffrent to work on radio. "Any Other Day" a slow ballad with Norah Jones, that really could have been taken from her album - minus the Wyclef rap. On "Heaven's In New York" Wyclef finds himself alone for the only time on this album in a sweet ballad with good lyrics. Upcoming singer Melissa Jimenez Appears on a latin inspired song called "Selena" a tribute to the the late singer Selena Quintanilla 1971-1995. Wyclef plays the guitar here and the song is another highlight. "Touch Your Button" is 13 minutes jam feauture a myriad of guests like Melissa Jimenez and Will.i.am (who as as annoying as he can be on this song), and several others. This song just shouldn't have appeared on the album at all. The album closes with that, only 13 songs. Bonus songs are "On Tour" and "China Wine". Both subpar party songs.
Overall, it doesn't hurt to have many friends. Wyclef makes the best out of it here and song after song I find myself praising him for good lyrics, arrangements and styles and most of the guest appearences couldn't have been better. "Carnival II" Is the best Wyclef album since his original 1997 "Carnival". As a self proclaimed world music Ambassador, Wyclef makes an hell of a job of creating music that represents all the world and he always has a thought behind his lyrics. Although there's only 12 real songs here and not 24 (including interludes) from the first Carnival you get what you asked for and all of those 12 songs apart from the aformenentioned closer are really good. I already had alot of respect for this man, but it increased even more after this listen. Wyclef doesn't only put Haiti on the map, but he puts international relations in focus. 4'5 stars and recommended.