Ever since I first listened to the new album by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, I can’t get its title song out of my head. Rocksteady is an amazing album and an amazing song. In my opinion it is the best album they’ve put out since Beautiful World. Its filled with diverse influences musically and loaded with powerful lyrics about the difficulties of love. I mean, isn’t that what the blues are all about? And Big Head Todd can definitely sing and play the blues! I have always felt that he is one of the great, but underappreciated guitarists and song writers of our time, but maybe with this incredible CD and upcoming tour, you can all check out what you have been missing.
Just to help you get a feel of the album, the title song, Rocksteady gets the groove started with an electronic jam similar in style to some of the “jamtronica” bands that are so popular in the scene these days like Lotus, STS9 or the Disco Biscuits, but it is still all Big Head Todd as far as the bluesy lyrics and guitar playing. I seriously can’t get this song out of my head and am so looking forward to dancing to this when I see him live this summer.
The title of the next song Beautiful speaks for itself. It is beautiful. Very melodic, with a kind of tropical island feel, but with a bluesy harmonica which just makes it. I also really love the lyrics, “You’re so beautiful when you’re wrong.” Makes me smile!
Muhammad Ali is a tribute song and Todd and the boys do a nice job in giving props to an obvious hero of theirs.
After Gold is a beautiful love song with such incredible deep meaningful lyrics about trying to figure someone out in order to find the intimacy…like, “You say you never had love you say you needed to survive, baby I just want to know you” and “I need to see the true you tonight.” This song makes my heart melt.
The love songs continue with Happiness Is…, but with a funky 70’s sound infused with horns. Also seems like it has some elements of smooth jazz. I just love it. Like I said, the influences throughout the CD are very diverse and keep you on your toes musically, but still sounds like Big Head Todd and the Monsters. How’d they do that?
“Take me back into your circle of trust” is my favorite verse in Backto the Garden, a jazzy/reggae/world music infused song that is fun and beautiful.
One of my favorite songs on the Beautiful World album a few years back was the cover song of John Lee Hookers Boom Boom. Well Todd does it again on Rocksteady with his version of Howlin Wolfs’ Smokestack Lightnin’. Everybody has got to here this and that is all I have to say!
I Hate It When Your Gone is funky, fun and happy as far as the musical vibe it brings. I love the use of the horns and the lyrics again are beautifully written. You get caught up in the feeling about how much he loves his girl. Very pretty!
The “Funky” vibe continues with People Train, but in a less serious way. With lyrics like “Don’t want to ride on no people train, I want to leave when I want” and “Ain’t green cause I’m addicted to the fossil fuel”, who knew that a song about transportation could be so much fun?
Another cover song on Rocksteady is Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones. Now I am a snob when it comes to covers. I believe that if you are going to cover a song that is already perfectly performed by its original creators than you better put your own spin on it and try not to just copy it. Well, Big Head Todd comes through. Todd’s version is insanely beautiful; I have to tell you that as much as I love the Stones, this version is the one I prefer. Sorry Mick and Kieth!
“Friendship and love, they belong together” is the point Todd is trying to make in the final song of the CD entitled Fake Diamond Kind and who wouldn’t agree with him? I use the word beautiful a lot, but I can’t help it. This song is beautiful!
I highly recommend this CD to all BHTM fans, fans of the past who have lost track of him, or anybody looking to try something they haven’t heard before. Hell, if you haven’t listened to Big Head Todd and The Monsters before, I suggest buying or downloading all their albums, especially Midnight Radio, Sister Sweetly, Beautiful World and of course Rocksteady.
For more information on these albums and tour dates go to www.bigheadtodd.com