Country God Or the Girl CD, Import
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The people who are down on this album seem to be those who have allowed themselves to create one impression of K'naan and what his music IS and SHOULD BE - namely, the dire and gritty stuff that came out with The Dusty Foot Philosopher, and a bit on Troubadour - and their cemented expectation for his future sounds won't allow for any deviation. For your sake, don't be one of those people.
As some others have said, this album demonstrates K'naan's breadth and depth as an artist, and his liberation as an artist. Instead of highlighting the pain that drove him as an artist, this album highlights freedom and hope. There are more anthemic sounds on here - like "The Wall", "Better", "The Seed", "Bulletproof Pride", "The Sound of My Breaking Heart" - to lift you up and take you far than any other of his albums.
Stylistically, it's very diverse. "Waiting is a Drug" and "Alone" are head-bopping, toe-tapping, smirking fun. "On the Other Side" and "Simple" are rhythmic, lyrical and even hypnotic. "70 Excuses" and "Gold in Timbuktu" are soft, beautiful, melodic. And make no mistake, the lyrics are thoughtful and profound. What makes the album unique lyrically relates to K's focus on hope. He extends his reflections to beyond his own personal experience. Many of the songs are about other people's struggles and hopes, even as K sings about them in first person. Finally, K'naan raps and sings about his own liberation as an artist. He's paid his dues, and then some. He was a seed, has grown his roots, and now he's a tree, free to be who he be.
"Country, God Or The Girl" is good, but a bit more produced and definitely mellower than those other albums.
I'd recommend it if you are a K'naan fan already, but if you have never heard him before, start with "Troubadour"...it is an amazing album.
While the album is exceptionally put together, it lacks some of K'Naan's pre-commercial zeal and edginess. What was so captivating about Troubadour was K'Naan's incredible life experiences put into thought-provoking lyrics and rhymes. This follow-up album doesn't seem to have the same depth. That being said, K'Naan's skills as a poet/lyricist cannot be denied. He is at the top of the game with the way his smooth voice turns phrases and drops creative metaphors.
If you are a positive hip-hop fan, then this album can't be missed. While it lacks in some areas from his previous album, you can tell it has the professional finish of a major label. Either way, K'Naan is a welcome new voice to the world of hip-hop. I'm guessing we will enjoy his voice for a long time.