Jamie Lidell’s fifth studio album was officially released in Australia on February 15th 2013. However, I happened to stumble upon a copy of said album on vinyl several days prior. With that I practically bolted straight down the stairs and snapped up a CD copy for $19.98. I won’t name & shame the store who had it in stock **cough cough** Red Eye Records on York Street in Sydney, but I will say that once I had finished listening to the album, I was even more surprised to discover that it was actually a pretty damn good collection of songs. As for the LP edition: I happened to buy it elsewhere the day before it eventually got released. A week later, I decided that it was time for me to get back into the review game and say a few words on the project. So, without any further or due, here is my critique of Jamie Lidell’s self titled album from 2013:
I’m Selfish: For real, the next time you’re driving around, fire up your iPod and BLAST this one as loud as you can. It absolutely feckin THUMPS and it’s full of quirky blips and triggery eighties synths. THIS is how you open your fifth album, G!! Sorry, Flavor Flav decided to leap into my body for a sec there. All righty. Onto track 2.
Big Love: Jamie is definitely throwin’ down on this track and he’s bringing forth a sound that’s reminiscent of such songs as “Don’t You Want Me” by Jody Watley, “Breaking There’s No Stopping Us” by Ollie & Jerry and even “Rhythm Of The Night” by DeBarge. Those cowbells towards the end are definitely giving this reviewer those kinds of vibes. What more can I say? He’s definitely come up with some dynamite stuff.
What A Shame: Now, I remember hearing this song several months before the album was released and I just thought: “Oh, man….. if this song is anything to go by the album is gonna be, to borrow a phrase from Senator Clay Davis of “The Wire”: “Shameful sheeiiiid.” Upon closer inspection the beats are very Timberland inspired as far as I can tell, but that still does not change the fact that the way he sings the chorus is incredibly annoying to me. What a shame indeed. NEXT!!!
Do Yourself A Faver: Where’s the spell checker on Jamie’s computer? It should be “Do yourself a FAVOUR” or “favor” if you’re American. To get the gist of what this song sounds like, while in the process doing away with all of the intentional spelling errors, just picture a funky ass guitar riff with a talkbox and quite an obvious vocal nod to His Royal Badness in the second verse. What’s funny is that Jamie’s main collaborator Justin Stanley used to be in an Aussie band called Noiseworks and they were NOT funky at all!!! Yet here he is gettin’ funky with another white boy, this time a fella from the UK named Jamie Lidell.
You Naked: Yep. That’s definitely a Princey beat in the intro. Sounds a bit like “Nasty Girl.” Lidell adds some beat boxing to that which then gives the song somewhat of an old school hip hop type of vibe. He says he was influenced by New Jack Swing on this record but I hear no such thing. Anyhow, this song just TOTALLY JAMS, man. How funky is that guitar riff in the chorus? “You’re makin me crazy with the things that you do….” Yeah. Sing that shit, Lidell.
why_ya_why: Jamie is doing some REALLY off the wall shit with his voice in the intro….. although for some reason what he did kinda reminded me of the NPG’s “Goldn*gga” album. Also there’s a band called DAG who did the same thing on the last song from their first album. In other words, you’re getting a HELLA quirky, twangy song with distorted vocals and even a harmonica. No scratch that. In the credits it’s listed as “Tuba. Cupped Trumpet joy.” There’s a very eighties beat that comes in at 2:20, which I had originally mistaken for a segue into the next song. That was not the case though. By the way speaking of which….. NEXT!
Blaming Something: Jamie is back on that vocal bass machine on this next track, giving obvious nods to the old ’70s jam “Who Is He & What Is He To You” and Eruption’s disco hit “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” Of course there are some Linn drums on the track and even a few falsettos and multi layered vocals. Gee, this Jamie Lidell guy really, really likes Prince and all of that retro stuff doesn’t he? I have no problems with that myself. Again, bloody good stuff from Mr Lidell.
You Know My Name: Uh-oh here comes another weird ass Lidell song. Nope! After 18 seconds went by, he proved me VERY wrong and he slapped me in the face with yet another funky ass Prince tribute complete with sped up and slowed down backing vocals. Really, man some people can’t hear the Prince influence that this Lidell guy is bringin’ forth, but it’s so bleedin’ obvious to me. I mean it was either Prince or George Clinton that he was imitating… nope! It was ABSOLUTELY PRINCE who inspired this track. No doubt. Yep that popped bassline and snappy handclap says it all. Hell so do those synths and quirky vocals. Yet another winner.
So Cold: Seems like this song is going to be a ballad at first but thirty nine seconds later the beat kicks in and AGAIN he’s on some Prince sh*t. It’s another funky one too. I really like the lyrics here: “You used to be so cool but now you’re so cold.” Sounds cliched but it works very well. Lidell even says “Bullshit” in this song. I know it’s not a nod to “Housequake” it’s in relation to the rest of the lyrics, but even so he’s never cussed on his albums before….. I knew he had it in him though to use the cursing and the filth flarn and filth.
Don’t You Love Me: Now this one is very different. It’s a mid tempo jam that conjures images of… I wanna say Stevie Wonder? Perhaps even Jay Kay of Jamiroquai. It’s obviously an original song though, just as well it’s not a cover of that bloody Joe Cocker song from the eighties! I quite like the beat here, it trods along very nicely….. hell yeah, Lidell loves that retro shit, Jack. He even lets out a hell of a soulful scream at one point. Damn. Check out the way he goes: “Say ya love me baby!!!” Dope.
In Your Mind: One more Prince tribb for the road. This one is absolutely packed to the rims with Linn drums and synths. The talkbox is in full effect too. Oh hell yeah this is the jam. Great closer for this record. I just wish it could have gone on for a lot longer. Man this is fonky!! Kinda makes you wonder what Roger Troutman would’ve thought of Jamie Lidell. He probably would have been very proud of him.
Verdict: Yes! I get it! Jamie Lidell is an incredibly quirky artist. However, I don’t exactly admire that particular side of him. His first ever album for example was absolutely impossible for me to even listen to. I know some others out there might come out and get me for even saying what I just did, but hey, at least I’m not telling you all a whole heap of lies. As for this particular album of his, I think it’s quite a solid effort and while it still may be very early to make such claims, I really do feel as though it could be one of the best damn albums of 2013. Believe that.