Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Albums of 2015: Number Six

best albums of 2015
So, for number 6 you could call it cheating, but that's on you. It's not a full album and on top of that it's basically just a deluxe version of a 2014 release, but it's my fucking blog, so tough. I'm talking about a collection of songs that ooze with reality and raw passion in a way that you wouldn't expect from someone that has a long history with the music business, but I guess it all depends on what happened during those years of experience. Fantasitc Negrito's Deluxe EP is a stomping, gospel infused, bluesy journey through struggle and redemption that accomplishes the dubious feat of updating roots music without losing a damn thing in the process.

Fantastic Negrito's story is pretty amazing even without actually hearing the music. This is a guy who taught himself to play multiple instruments and that should have made it big back in the 90s (Prince big), except just when he was about to, he was sidelined by a music business that wanted to pigeonhole every artist just as the whole industry was about to collapse under the weight of its own labels. Fast forward a few hard, hustling years, after he nearly dies in a car accident which puts him in a coma and mangles his playing hand - years of not creating music at all. Until it just bursts inside him and this time, it's going to come with the confidence of a man who has really lived.

deluxe ep

So you have a guy who has the advantage of having come close enough that he really honed his craftsmanship, but unlike some artists who reach that level of professionalism and then struggle to keep it real, he is hungry and unrelenting. And unlike many struggling artists, he has moved well beyond the not giving a fuck stage of life and is supremely self assured to the point that exposing his vulnerability becomes an act of empowerment. All this comes through in every single note he releases from the inner depths of his Soul (capitalization intended).

As soon as "Lost in a Crowd" starts, I am stomping along with this impassioned confession/lamentation/sermon/rant that he spits out in a seemingly stream of consciousness barrage before breaking into a sweet, classic soul melody for a second that really knocks you out in how perfectly timed it is. "An Honest Man" opens with the humor of "I'm in love again, No this time it's time it's not with my hand," and then delves into some pretty dark shit about "wandering, murdering" and not paying the Chinese girl (seriously, you should always pay the Chinese girl). And the whole album just keeps doing that over and over again, shaking and lifting you up while pounding you with this man's truths and passions and desires. I can't wait to hear this his full album some time next year. In the meantime, I'm gonna be playing the fuck out of this EP and I hope you do to. This guy deserves the second life he's getting.

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