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Michael Franti’s Kinda Different

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 96% (25 Votes)

I had no idea what I was getting into.  I had downloaded Stay Human because I had heard “Say Hey (I Love You)” on FM and I thought it was brilliant and wanted to hear more.  I know, not the same album, but I love reggae and thought I had found a contemporary reggae artist.  I hadn’t.

That day I walked an indoor track replaying Stay Human over and over, one of the best walks of my life.  I was blaring it.  I wasn’t quite sure what I had found, but I think I know now.  This is today’s Tommy—only better.  This is not a rock opera by any means, but it is a dramatic piece, a dramatization of a radio show. 

It’s Called Hip hop But...

There is just about every kind of music you can think of on Stay Human, all in the theme of "be real." Some is Motown and some is as contemporary as it gets.  These songs are all by Franti, performed with Brother Soulshine and some with Brother Soulshine and The Nubian Poetess. And it’s exactly like a radio show.  The songs sound like they could be by several separate artists and they all work. Interspersed are nine radio segments and those are the drama, integrating the songs and making it all work as one.

It sounds exactly like the kind of radio show many of us would like to listen to, the music is amazing, and the story is compelling.  It is melodrama though. Governor Franklin Shane (played by Woody Harrelson), the man who could spare Sister Fatima from execution...well we don’t want to ruin it for you.  It’s a story.

Guilty Confessions and Pardons

In this age of digital I have a different album from the one I listened to on that day of walking the track all those years ago; I have excised the radio segments and it is one of my favourite Franti albums of all time. Every once in a while though, I listen to the whole thing—interviews and all—and the result is one of my favourite Franti albums of all time.


And our review of All People.