I thought I'd kick this week's blog off with an EP that I had been anxiously waiting for.
Last week, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy fame released his debut solo EP, Truant Wave, on the iTunes store.
I'll admit, the joy I've gotten out of Fall Out Boy in the last few months have come mostly from Patrick's Joe Cocker-y mannerisms on stage and in studio. Admittedly, I've been following his "Spotlight (New Regrets)" vs. "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)" single battle and his YouTube acapella videos (Patrick's Grammy Medley, Patrick's Tribute to Michael Jackson) just waiting and waiting for Soul Punk to hit the market.
Thankfully, Patrick's release of the Truant Wave EP gives fans a possible sneak peak of what Soul Punk will be.
I will say this outright; this album sounds very Top 40/generic soul. However, fans of Patrick can and will overlook that blandness. Just knowing that he produced, wrote, and composed on all six tracks puts me more at ease and reinforces Patrick's mystique as a maverick in the music industry.
Truant Wave echoes early 90's Michael Jackson, with new jack swing rhythms galore, MJ's stutters, rasps and gasps, and some great rappers putting in their 16 bars. There are even Daft Punk-y lines of bass and string sections supporting most tracks on this album. But there's still this sort of DIY-punk rock feel to every track. It's a little inspiring after a couple of listens.
Flashing back to what I said earlier, there are some bland tracks that sound just a hair too generic to be considered classics. "Big Hype" and "Love, Selfish Love," while great tracks to get lost in, don't stand out from the Top 40 songs that always manage to fade into obscurity after a year or two. But the standout tracks, like "Porcelain" and "As Long As I Know I'm Getting Paid," have enough flair and memorable lyrics ("Let me say this/ you'd look better famous" probably being the one line I'm currently obsessed with) to keep your feet tapping while you hum along to these jaggedly melodic tunes.
The EP does have a fantastic flow to it, however. This might be due to the fact that amidst the electro-pop, sci-fi soul feel there's a loose concept album hiding behind the bright lights. In Patrick's own words, "... I took this idealistic, naive little character, and at the beginning of the record, he has the best intentions, the highest hopes, and, as you get towards the middle of the record, he's just such an asshole. And then the character gets really dark, and then, at the end, I envisioned him being really down and out in Hollywood, like drunk and telling someone, 'Look, kid, don't make the same mistakes I did.'" When you take that into consideration, there might be a little more to the sparse lyricism spattered onto a complex backdrop.
I'm not saying that this should be used a tool to estimate what Soul Punk might contain (Patrick certainly isn't), but I'm excited to see the production value and lyricism that might appear on the final product. Truant Wave makes for a great appetizer, though, so hopefully within the next few months we'll be able to see where the music goes.
Letter Grade: B+