Album Review: SOULROCKER, by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Over his decades-long career, Davis High School Graduate Michael Franti has spanned a plethora of musical genres, blending hip hop, rock, reggae, funk, and even jazz. On his latest LP, SOULROCKER, Franti adds an electronic dance element to his music, branching out even further from his more acoustic past. This new style comes through best on "We Are All Earthlings," which wouldn't sound out of place at a Miami beach party. The album retains  quite an optimistic tone throughout in regards to both the pleasing pop melodies and the inspiring lyrics, especially on relaxed jam "Still Standing" and the upbeat and energetic "My Lord." While this album is defenitely a new direction for Michael Franti and Spearhead, their are clear connections to their older works. "Summertime Is In Our Hands," recalling the hopeful summertime jams the group became famouos for, sounds like it was taken straight from 2010 LP The Sound of Sunshine. "Good To Be Alive Today" blends the political activism of Franti's career with unrelenting optimism on a very inspring mellow hip-hop track, a clear standout on the album. In the end, if you listened to Franti for the acoustic jams, you might be slightly dissapointed with SOULROCKER, but the inspiring lyrics and innovative sounds that Franti is known for are plentiful and varied, and the production is as tight and clean as ever. Michael Franti and Spearhead remain a musical standout and on of Davis High School's most successful and impactful graduates.

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