I have to preface my review by saying that I have been listening to Jamiroquai for many years. This band is, without a doubt, my favorite. I literally counted the days for this album to come out and was astounded as how well rounded and ambitious it is. So many different sounds and feelings contained within this album. Seasoned listeners will be disappointed if they expect a `Dynamite' or `Funk Odyssey' sound. However, if you keep your mind open and realize that this is not about keeping the same sound, it is about Jay Kay and Jamiroquai showing that they are so much more than what we have heard, you will adore it.....
Rock Dust Light Star -The title track was one that was released early on You Tube by a few eager fans holding camera phones. I was so very excited to hear this on the album however; this is actually one of my least favorite songs. There is some sloppy guitar work in this one and the background singers seem to overpower Jay Kay on too many occasions. I do like the track love how toward the end Jay Kay lets go a bit but again, the background singers seem to overpower him too much and his velvet voice gets lost too often in the noise.
White Knuckle Ride-I really enjoy this song, I do wish that it had not been released as the first single however, I understand why it was. This is probably the most `main stream' song on the album, consistent beats, and a very VERY catchy chorus. Same backup singers on this one, but they take a back seat to Jay Kay. This one is destined to be remixed (and remixed...and remixed....and remixed).
Smoke and Mirrors-I was not a huge fan of this one when I first heard it, I still don't think that it comes close to what the band is capable of. That being said, the more I listen to it the more I come to appreciate the horns, mellow mood it creates, and smooth tone of Jay Kay. There is something that works about this song, even though I really don't want it to. There is an almost jazz feeling to this one. It picks up toward the end and makes me wish that the first half matched the tempo and feeling of the second.
All Good in the Hood - One of the better songs on the album. Very peppy with a very catch chorus (I dare you not to smile when Jay Kay declares that it's "all good in the hood tonight"!). Disco type feel to this one. Jay Kay's voice is a bit distorted (I am sure there is a technical term but it almost sounds like he is talking through an old style telephone). I can imagine that this was a close contender for the first single release due to the `pop' nature of it.
Hurtin'-This song really showcases what Jay Kays voice can do. Gritty and sounding well worn (in a good way, not the three-pack-a-day way), you really can hear through his voice the pain that created this song. Often overpowering, the instrumentals take a background on this one and allow Jay Kay to start to stretch himself a bit vocally.
Blue Skies - This is the other single that was released early. A very laid back melody with a very typical sound. I am not a huge fan when Jamiroquai tries to do a song that sounds `radio ready'. They are so much better than that. However, this song does work and winds up coming out as a beautiful ballad. Jay Kay sounds FLAWLESS on this song, so smooth and sweet. I have never been a fan of their slower songs but this one does the trick, doesn't sound at all like them, but it does work.
Lifeline - The first time I listened to this song I really did not like it all. It is now probably my second or third favorite. Heavy on horns again (I adore when they bring horns in on the songs, it just adds that little jazz edge that I love). The chorus and verse and totally different from each other at the beginning, it almost seems like they are from two different songs, at first it really annoyed me. Now I cannot imagine the song any other way. Soft strings and horns accompany Jay Kay on the verse and the song breaks into a bit more rowdy almost `showtunes' type of chorus. These two parts come into a nice unison toward the end of the song when it's all let loose, then backs off once more to allow the strings and piano take over a bit, this is a wonderful, beautiful, and unusual arrangement.
She's a Fast Persuader - I am on the fence on this song. It is one of the more up tempo songs on the album and sometimes I listen to it and really like it, other times I just want to skip past it. Very fast beats, slowing at the chorus which transitions into an almost dreamlike quality. Again, the verse and chorus don't seem to match on this one but, as always, Jay Kay makes it work with a result that I find tapping my foot to.
Two Completely Different Things -this is BY FAR my favorite song on the album!!! The first few times I skipped by it not thinking much of it but it has (after only two weeks) taken the top spot on my ipod for most played. Extremely smooth opening to this song, Jay Kay's voice takes center stage in this one and does not disappoint. The song begins as a mid tempo ballad of sorts and about halfway transitions into a bridge and finale that still gives me goose bumps, this is one of the only songs where is seems Jay Kay really lets his voice shine and reminds his long time fans that while this album is more subdued, his voice is still is filled with the same gorgeous soul that carried him this far. Heavy on the horns and with catchy and beautiful lyrics. This song, at least for me, is the crown jewel of the album.
Goodbye to my Dancer - A very sweet reggae inspired song. Very Caribbean sounding and somewhat unusual for Jamiroquai, this is a great stretch for the band. Different enough that you know they are going outside of their comfort box but not enough that you don't recognize a lot of the guitar and smooth transitions that the band does so well at. You will either love this one or hate it, but at least listen until the chorus as that brings the song together with a nice bow.
Never Gonna Be Another - Think about a quiet evening, cashmere PJ's (of course, since this is Jamiroquai you also would be wearing a really cool headdress) glass of wine, cuddled up by a crackling fireplace with the one you love, and then add one of the most mellow and gorgeous songs on the album. Enough said.
Hey Floyd - This song rubbed me the wrong way the first few times I heard it, I gave it another shot a few days later. As it turns out it is a really good song. Again, it carries a very Carribbean sound with it, but once again, the chorus brings it all to a different level. Heavy on instrumentals and very dramatic, I adore the quick lyrics and accompanying strings on the chorus. Give this one more than one chance, it needs it but once you realize what Jay Kay was trying to get across you will appreciate it that much more.