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AAA Music | 19 May 2024

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| On 19, Jun 2014


California-born Michael Franti started off as a poet, which I think explains the certain rhythm and flow his music has. You see it in artists such as George Watsky, also a poet, where their lyrics fit together seamlessly and even those who claim not to like the music can’t help but sing or hum along.

In All PeopleMichael Franti has managed to produce a summer dance album where it is possible to sit down and listen the whole way through – that’s if you can resist the dancing rhythm and stay seated for that long. With an eclectic mix of hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz, folk, jam band and dancehall genres present in his music, Michael Franti’s music is simply fun and interesting to listen to.

Probably due to the hybrid genre, this album needs to be played at a beach party with bikini-clad girls and topless boys drinking Coronas or Coruba and cokes (funnily enough, since writing this I have learned that an earlier song of Michael Franti was used in a Corona ad in 2010).

All People’, the title track, is a quick-paced, lively way to kick off this album. Despite the steady build up, I was completely sucked into the sudden change at the line, “All night long ain’t long enough”, where this song suddenly switches up a gear into a summer dance track that can stand up to the season’s favourite acts Calvin Harris and Flo Rida. This is without a doubt my favourite single off the album.

Earth From Outer Space’ reminded me of a Travie McCoy track. In it, Michael Franti ponders what earth would look like from an outsider, bringing together a mixed analysis of societal issues and a love song all bundled up with a strong pop beat showing that as long as you have the catchy tune you can talk about whatever you want in your music and people will listen. Since he has received prizes for his work on peace and justice, it makes sense that his albums reflect his stance on the world. The key is where he turns it into a track that people will enjoy listening to over and over- picking up the message he is trying to get across. The love theme tossed in throughout helps too…

If this album was a concert, ‘A Long Ride Home’ would be a great finale track. Michael Franti really displays his versatility early in the album, which made me wonder if maybe he had shown all his cards in the first four songs.

He does have a few songs that, to me, sound dangerously familiar – especially within the rap verses – ‘11.59’ and ‘Earth From Outer Space’. However, it is a very enjoyable album to listen to and after a while it was easy to forget I was in the rainy United Kingdom and not on a beach in the Caribbean. All in all, this album, and particularly the single ‘All People’, must be on your summer playlist.

Rachael Pilkington