Having decamped to America following his acclaimed debut 'Born To Do It', Craig David...
Keysha Davis 2002-11-20
There's something about cracking America that often leaves an acrid tang hovering around the taste buds. Without a doubt, we were proud to witness Craig David achieving the undoable. Many had tried and failed before him, but here stood the corn-rowed, Southampton Boy Wonder, getting his back slapped by the American musical elite, in awe of his superb debut Born To Do It. Music critics revered him; and Craig embarked on an 18 month media blitz across the US firmly placing himself within the American record buying consciousness.
But the problem lies in the blurring of musical identity, and with this in mind, it's easy to decipher that Craig's time spent away has Americanised his artistic output. What's Your Flava confirms his position as transatlantic R&B crooner; but quite frankly, it's hard to swallow. The Zapp influenced funk-stomper seems eons away from the Southampton housing estate. Two-Step has been substituted with voice vocoders, heavy synthesizers and dubious baselines.
The subject of success-envy seems to be perpetually stuck in a groove amongst the R&B gang. David's take on playa hate-eration is touched upon on a few tracks, "Slicker Than Your Average" in particular, "They thought I wasn't good enough, How I'm so squeaky clean whenever I'm on TV, Too much jealously in the industry, Why are you watching me". With harsh sentiments like this, said perpetrators had better run for cover cos Craig's not havin it!
The initial harshness is softened slightly by tracks such as "Hidden Agenda" and "What's Changed". Here we get Craig at his most vulnerable. Similarly "Rise & Fall" featuring Sting will definitely stand as one of the albums nicer moments. Sting's raspy vocals take on the authoritative voice of father figure as David laments on the double-edge sword, which is success.
Slicker Than Your Average provides the listener with the opportunity to really get into the mind of a truly gifted, young star.There are enough club friendly tracks to ensure heavy rotation in the hottest nightspots, but true fans may be a tad bit disappointed by the new super-slick musical direction, which obediently plays into the hands of our American cousins.
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