Hateful! CD crop (bar one) raises the bile
Charlie Hunter Trio: Friends Seen and Unseen (RopeADope)
G. Love and Special Sauce: The Hustle (Brushfire)
Har Mar Superstar: The Handler (Brushfire)
Have you ever met a supreme hater? I'm sure you have.
They're the type of people who, no matter what the circumstances, can find something to complain about. I've run through lots of social circles in my day, and I must say the most vicious haters are often the biggest music enthusiasts. I'm sure you know (or know someone who knows) a person who considers himself an authority on music, who's an avid collector of albums, but comes across as disliking just about everything he listens to.
This past week, while looking for albums to review, I found myself exhibiting some major hater characteristics. I don't know whether it was the weather or the quality of what I've been listening to. Whatever the case, I've been hating on a lot lately.
First off, I received an advance copy of the new G. Love and Special Sauce album from Brushfire Records. The Hustle is G. Love's first record in three years and, oh, what a disappointment! I don't know what I was expecting when I popped the disk in, but after the first five songs, I had to restrain myself from tossing the disk into the alley outside my window.
G. Love used to be a fun-loving bluesy rap guy who crafted light-hearted tunes for teenagers everywhere. But this new record smells less funky than anything he's put together in the past and lacks any vestige of the craftsmanship that brought him fame. In fact, the songs are so elementary I feel embarrassed for him. By the end of the album, I decided that throwing it out the window was not best. I'm currently using the CD as a tea coaster.
Next I popped in an advance album I received from Brushfire Records. This time it was a new kid on the block, Har Mar Superstar. His album, The Handler, is much more of a pop record. The Handler was produced by John Fields (Pink, Mandy Moore, Lillix) and has received rave reviews from Thrasher, Billboard, and Rolling Stone. One of the mags even calls Har Mar "one of the hottest new R&B sensations since Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson."
Ha! Double Ha! The supreme hater in me came out with a vengeance after having to choke down this album. I wished for ginger ale to chase away the bitter taste of this psuedo-soul cat. To mention his name in the same sentence as Stevie Wonder and MJ should be grounds for firing. Har Mar Superstar reminds me of that kid who always thought he was talented and no one ever had the nerve to tell him he sucked.
Somehow this quack, with his wannabe Prince call-and-response funk jams and silly "look at me, I'm a pimp" banter snagged a budget to make this record. His singing has few redeeming qualities. I'm currently using The Handler as a placemat for my cereal bowl.
By this point, I'm pretty much thinking that I'm a full-fledged hater. Until I randomly come across the new Charlie Hunter Trio album at Plan 9. I've always respected Charlie Hunter. He's a true innovator and prodigy, playing an eight-string guitar that allows him to play bass and guitar simultaneously. To see him perform is truly a treat, especially since some of Cali's finest accompany him on his projects.
His most recent, Friends Seen and Unseen, is a sweet collection of down-tempo jazz tunes that made perfect sunny Sunday music. My one criticism is that Hunter often gets a bit discordant with his solos.
Still, that's a minor criticism for an album this well put together. My suggestion: if you've felt a little bit of hater welling up in your system, make sure you pick up the new Charlie Hunter album.
It's a cure for supreme hater syndrome.