For decades now, MIchael Franti has been quietly making great music. He started as part of the industrial punk band the Beatnigs and then was half of the early art-rap act, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Neither band got big outside of San Francisco, but Disposables had a solid cover updating California Uber Alles (originally by the Dead Kennedys) and they had this pretty cool single…
Their album is worth hearing, if you can find it.
From there, he formed Spearhead, who started out as a soul/reggae band with somewhat aggressive lyrics, and have gradually morphed into a hippies-and-flowers jam-based band. They’ve had a few moderate hits like People in Tha Middle and most recently Say Hey, I Love You.
That one went to #1, prompting him to say that it took him 30 years to get a #1 single.
Very interesting career progression.
Now he’s back, with Spearhead, on the sequel to that Band’s first (and best) album. Stay Human became the name of the various political causes he has supported throughout his career.
Okay, so I’ve established that I’m a fan of his work. But how is the music on this new album? It’s about what you should have come to expect from him if you’ve followed his career–smooth, easy on the ears, full of positive lyrics and gentle protests like “I wish I could find a better way to say this/This world is so fucked up but I ain’t never givin’ up on it.”
It’s a fine record. But really, you want to see Spearhead live. That’s where they really shine.
Franti walks the walk. He’s the kind of artist we should all support.