Sound — 7
SuperHeavy formed as a group and began recording in early 2009, though their existence as a group was kept secret until May 2011. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones had previously worked on separate occasions with Joss Stone and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. SuperHeavy began with discussions of collaboration between these three, and next Damian Marley was brought into the fold, then after discussions they brought in composer and Bollywood vocalist A.R. Rahman (known for composing the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire'). They got together at Jim Henson Studios with no prepared material and just began recording. The songwriting session at the studio lasted 10 days and ended with 35 hours of music recorded and 29 songs. Of course, then the task of cutting the songs down to digest-able sizes remained. They managed to cut the standard edition of the album down to 12 songs with the average song clocking in between 4 and 5 minutes. The deluxe edition has 5 more songs, with one of them being a remix of the track Miracle Worker'. Damian Marley's rhythm section, which includes bassist Shiah Coore and drummer Courtney Diedrick play on the album. Dave Stewart brought rock violinist Ann Marie Calhoun into the fold to also play on the album. Throughout the album different musical styles and genres are bleeding into each other. The album contains reggae, rap, blues rock, soul, Indian orchestrations, ballads and some R&B. I don't mean that each song is a different genre, but that these different genres blend together inside each song. It really becomes difficult to put your finger on anything to pin down the sound of this album and explain it. The genres that are the most prominent are soul ballads, reggae and blues rock.
Lyrics — 8
What can I say? The lyrics were written by five different vocalists Joss Stone, Mick Jagger, Damian Marley, A.R. Rahman and Dave Stewart. They all give impressive vocal deliveries with just a slight show of age in Mick Jagger's voice in certain places. In interviews the group has stated their goal was to write songs which had meaning, and for the most part each song seems to be expressing its ideas and not just insinuating a hook and a catchy chorus into the song. The lyrics are all well written and interesting. Joss Stone has a beautiful voice and uses it beautifully throughout the album. Damian Marley is a great reggae vocalist as well as a rapper and manages to incorporate both with great impact throughout the album. Mick Jagger is Mick Jagger and his powerful voice really belts out his lines in his usual style, with a surprise with Mick Jagger actually rappinig on the track Energy'. Dave Stewart's voice isn't distinctive to me, and I believe for the most part he is providing backup vocals. A.R. Rahman provides some non-english voals.
Overall Impression — 6
SuperHeavy is definitely an interesting group/project and I'm having a hard time deciding if I like what they are doing or not. I can say, however, that the music is interesting, well composed and well produced. I just can't decide if I can really get behind the music with my personal taste. Parts of the album really grab me, but other parts leave me cold. I think if you are a fan of one of the vocalists involved in SuperHeavy, then you will probably like this album. I think otherwise you may want to catch a few tracks on YouTube before you make the purchase. I don't regret my purchase and I'm sure I'll listen to this album more in the future (and it possibly will grow on me), it isn't on any playlist on my mp3 player and will not be something I listen to daily or probably even weekly. My favorite tracks on SuperHeavy' are the songs SuperHeavy', I Can't Take It No More', I Don't Mind' and Energy'. None of the songs are bad songs. I can't point out a track and say that this specific track is no good. Other tracks on the album don't grab me as much as the ones I listed as my favorites, but this is in a lot of ways an album instead of a group of songs. This album is bearable listened to from beginning to end. There are people with a slightly different taste in music than me who are going to enjoy this album a lot more than me, and I can recognize that. The mix of genres seems to work without creating a feeling that it is clashing. I've listened to SuperHeavy' several times at this point and can say that it is a quality album for people who have the right taste in music. I really enjoy a few songs on the album and none of them are unpleasant to listen to.