Superhero Brother – G. Love and Special Sauce
Even if their music isn’t your thing, you still have to respect artists like G. Love & Special Sauce for sticking to their guns. Over the course of 15 years and ten albums they’ve certainly had some huge hits, like the quintessential booze anthem “Cold Beverage.” While some artists take their hit song and recreate it ad nauseum in an attempt to squeeze every last possible cent out of a good idea, G. Love and company have generally taken a much more laidback approach. They just keep on doing what they’ve been doing, and if the hits come, then all the better. By no means have they gone stagnant though. The recipe may have stayed relatively the same, but the sauce tastes different enough with each new batch to keep fans hungry and coming back for more.
The self-described “hip-hop blues artist” and his band have always employed funky-ass backbeats as an integral part of their sound, regardless of which musical genre they’re exploring at the time, and the songs on Superhero Brother certainly keep with this tradition. From the catchy, dirty squonk of “Wiggle Worm” to the horn-laden hooks of “City Livin’,” you’ll be bopping your head to the beat no matter who you are. The boys bring the bounce right from the start on “Georgia Brown,” with its funky dance-party sound and raucous vibe. As his name implies, G’s a lover, not a fighter, and he lets that romantic side shine on the uber-smooth “Crumble.” Even the love jams (no pun intended) on this record have funkified backbeats, never giving the listener even a chance to lose the groove.
The infectious, harp-filled “Peace, Love and Happiness” was written by G. Love on a trip to Rio De Janiero after spending the day playing music for children in the notoriously rough slums of the city. But there’s also the clicheed song thrown in for good measure, the (cough) creatively-titled “Who’s Got the Weed?” It honestly might have been a total throwaway song if not for the short but sweet guest spot from The Pharcyde’s MC Slim Kid Tre. The title track “Superhero Brother” is just G. Love and his acoustic taking a fun, delta-blues inspired romp, chock full o’ pop culture references and tongue-in-cheek humor. It’s almost certainly the first and only blues song to feature references to not just Osama Bin Laden, but Britney Spears and “saving the whales and the pygmy marmosets too.”
Overall, it’s an incredibly accessible record, giving throngs of musically unambitious 20- and 30-somethings exactly what they’re looking for: catchy, genre-mashing radio music that occasionally appears to make a political statement, without actually saying anything too controversial or too offensive in the process.