Rhyme&Re-Review: Citizen Cope

30 10 2009


Sometimes we like to climb in the way-back machine and review an old album just to see how it holds up to our current ★chive entries. We call it the Rhyme&Re-Review. So, no — this album is not new, and yes — you’ve probably listened to it and stopped listening to it by now
. But who says you can’t learn new things from old material right?

Who?

Citizen Cope, the used-to-be hip-hop producer turned alt. crooner. Every Waking Moment was his third release, after Citizen Cope and successful The Clarence Greenwood Recordings. He’s a low-singing, soulful man whose worked with the likes of Carlos Santana on the fantastic song “Sideways”, Rhymefest (on a remixed version of “Bullet and a Target”) and Robert Randolph (a radio version of “Son’s Gonna Rise”. His music has also been in a slew of films, most notably Alpha Dog, Entourage, Scrubs and Accepted.

Basically, Citizen Cope is one smooth man who has been left off the radar of mainstream. He’s close, no doubt about it, and if you find yourself in a indie, hipster bar scene more likely than not mentioning “D’Artagnan’s Theme” will elicit the coos of a few ladies. But he’s not at the popularity level of the Jack Johnsons, John Mayers or even Jason Mrazs of the world. And it’s probably better than way, considering how his albums sounds little like theirs. Some music just wasn’t made for mainstream.

Every Waking Moment

It’s tough for anyone to follow up the genius that was The Clarence Greenwood Recordings. So that sucks. And though there are plenty of songs on Every Waking Moment that would feel right at home on CGR, they would only be — at best — compliments to the album, not features. But the sound is classic Cope, it’s got that Bluesy, steady, hip-hop inspired sound that made Citizen Cope popular. It’s got the same simple, but often deep, lyrics. It’s got the same infusion of various instruments, none of which seem out of place. It’s really got everything you want from a Citizen Cope album. Except for one caveat.

The one caveat: it lacks the signature song. Citizen Cope might not have had one either, but The Clarence Greenwood Recordings had several, including “Sideways”, “Bullet and a Target”, “Son’s Gonna Rise” and “D’Artagnan’s Theme”. The closest Every Waking Moment comes is somewhere between “Somehow”, “Every Waking Moment” and “More Than it Seems”, but putting those songs up against the previous four is like putting Ben Affleck’s Daredevil up against The Dark Knight. Not. Good. Still, the album is quality new-blues, which is hard to find these days anywhere around mainstream, so go find your old copy, dust it off or fire it up or whatever it is you do with old music, and give it another go.

So Now What?

Since Every Waking Moment was released in 2006, we haven’t heard shit from Mr. Cope. It’s unsettling. Rumors swirled around about an acoustic album in 2009 (which is running out, by the way). Finally, news came that in Februrary of 2010, Citizen Cope with release his fourth album, The RainWater LP. Considering how similar his last three albums were, this could mean The RainWater LP will be the most telling about the future of Citizen Cope.

If it’s a considerable improvement, Citizen Cope could catapult into the upper echelon of talent. If it sounds the same as the past three albums, then we all know exactly who Clarence Greenwood is and what he’s capable of. That’s not a bad thing, but for music’s top talent maintaining the status quo shouldn’t be considered progress.

[note: It seems that part of the album will be given out to some on November 3, 2009. If this is the case, we might have it up for review much sooner than we thought, so we’ll keep you posted.]

Tracklisting

1. Back Together – ★★★
2. Every Waking Moment – ★★★
3. Friendly Fire –
4. More Than is Seems – ★★★
5. Brother Lee – ★★★
6. 107˚ – ★★★
7. Somehow – ★★★★
8. John Lennon – ★★★★
9. All Dressed Up –
10. Awe –
11. Left for Dead – ★★★
12. Bullet and a Target (Live) – ★★★

Every Waking Moment Total ★: 29
Every Waking Moment ★ Ratio: 2.41

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