cemerson2012, on july 24, 2014 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Brown" is the second widely released album by Sand Diego rap rockers P.O.D. signifying Payable On Death. Released in 1996 on Rescue Records the album features 15 tracks and runs almost 50 minutes. Some are songs, others just little interludes with different sounding jams which keep you interested. The album was remixed in 2000 and re-released and the remixed version is a lot cleaner and overall sounds better in my opinion, but the original is incredibly raw and heavy. The sound is what you'd come to expect from P.O.D. with heavy guitars, audible bass lines and funky beats. The guitar sounds are very thick and chunky. Guitarist Marcos Curiel's style is perfect for their breed of rock/reggae. The riffs will in no way melt your face or blow you away, but they perfectly fit the feel and are what's is needed. A number of the songs have clean or Spanish guitar sounding breaks which will certainly keep your ears entertained.
The album begins with a very interesting piano, drum and DJ track, sounds like something off a Beastie Boys record (upon further research I found it's a sample from an LL Cool J song). The next track is "Know Me," which is a kick in the teeth and really gives you an idea of what to expect from the album. It's heavy! Sonny's vocals are in your face from the word go. His vocal style is more of a yelling/rock style rather than a metal or rapcore (whatever that is) style of vocal. "Selah" is next and boys is it another hard hitting and heavy track much like the previous, but it slows and gets softer halfway through. It has some really nice Spanish guitar throughout the middle, then ends heavy. "Visions," "Brown," and "One Day" are similar tracks to the previous. They are heavy but also have a little bit of hip-hop sprinkled throughout.
"Punks Rock" is the first of the interlude/jam tracks. It's an interesting break that features so impromptu heavy jamming and Sonny singing about French fries and ketchup (don't believe me? Look it up). "Breathe Babylon" is up next and this track displays a wide range of sounds. It borders on hardcore and reggae rock and is probably the strongest song on the album in my opinion. The beat and meter of Sonny's vocals is catchy and meshes very well with the beat and heavy power chords. Another aspect of this song I like is the audible bass guitar and bassist Traa Daniels is really the heartbeat and backbone of this album. His talent really shines through on "Breathe Babylon" and the track to follow called "Funk Jam" which is exactly what it sounds like. Track 10 is titled "Preach" and this song is a little interesting in the fact that it is a pretty slow churn as far as time, but has a very groovy distorted underlying bass rhythm. Following "Preach" is a "Reggae Jam" and then "Full Color." Here is where the remixed version gets interesting because it starts out with the band beat-boxing the song, sorta weird but then it breaks into a very funky wah pedal heavy guitar riff. The original version however has the same wah riff, but it sounds way different. The wah is very raw and untouched sounding, reminds me very much of a Jimmy Hendrix inspired sound and riff. "Full Color" is another track that Traa really shines on the bass. The album closes on a very "rap rock" heavy sound in the track "Live and Die." // 8
Lyrics on the album are interesting. Most of them are what you would expect from rock or hardcore, some of the tracks also things you would expect from West Coast rap or hip-hop (strange mixture I know). The lyrics to "Selah" are a perfect example of the dichotomy of hardcore vs rap lyrics:
"Kick down the teeth of the wicked creep undaground Where I stay hid lurk down the alleyways, you be stalking me Behind back talkers, cowards be mock'n me."
P.O.D. often falls under the category of Christian rock because of their religious view that comes out in their songs. The lyrics from "Full Color" only drive their religious views home. The song is about Sonny losing his mother and having the faith that he will see her again:
"I've never been it this state of mind, life just don't make sense With you I could move mountains, right now I'm helpless I guess, you always knew what was best Believed in your God, 'til the very last breath You showed me how strong you can be If Jesus saved your life, could he do it for me? I'll lay down my life for you and for Him Believe God's promise, I'm gonna see you again."
Overall Impression: Overall "Brown" has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. P.O.D. was one of the first modern bands I really got into and this album really influences my musical taste even after having it in my collection for 10+ years. Also for someone like me who likes to hear the bass guitar and have it no blend in with the noise, this album will become an instant favorite. The remixed version definitely sounds better from the engineering side of things, but the original release allows you to feel the raw power this band displays. Both are testament to the band as artists. Nothing but praises from me about "Brown," I own both versions and would risk life and limb to get them again in CD form. // 8