It’s said that if you’re not a liberal when you’re 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative when you’re 40 you have no head. Tweaking a few words here and there (indie for liberal, mainstream for conservative) and the same could be said for the music industry.This mentality has recently taken hold of G. Love, venturing further away from his bluesy roots in an attempt to break into the commercial ranks. With G. Love’s newest album, Lemonade, the rappin’-blues star creates a rosy, super-polished record surely aimed at (finally) attaining the same level of success reached by buddy Jack Johnson.
One can’t really blame G.; after all, his career spans well over a decade. However, one has to question the cost of such a direction. Long gone are the raw, from-the-gut, soulful grooves that made him a star on the college radio circuit. Absent are the backroom, toe-tapping songs about love and loss that were so relevant to anyone who listened. Instead, Lemonade is a pop party, trading in the spirit behind classics such as Yeah It’s That Easy and Philadelphonic for a barrage of “La la las” and a who’s who of guest artists. In fact, save for â€šÃ„ÃºThanks and Praise” (hearkening back to G. Love’s debut and reuniting him with his old friend Jasper) and the bluesy “Still Hangin’ Around,” Lemonade contains songs more like the over-produced “Ride” and the hyper “Can’t Go Back to Jersey.”
While Lemonade is by no means bad, it seems a bit high in fructose-something that may appeal to newer fans. Older fans, however, may miss the old G. Love, complete with Special Sauce.