Michael Franti & Spearhead
The Sound of Sunshine
Michael Franti packages joyfulness in a box, puts a colorful bow on it, and offers it to anyone who wants to listen. This latest effort is unusually buoyant, even by Franti standards, the kind of music you put on the stereo when you want to dance around the room with a smile on your face. The guy is the very definition of positivity, and if Spearhead can’t make you shake your booty, well, more’s the pity. Ironically, Franti says, he wrote many of the 11 songs on the album while he was in the hospital last August, recovering from a ruptured appendix that almost killed him. “Even in that hospital,” he says, “I could laugh with the people I love, cry with them, and start to find the sun again.” That sentiment is most evident in “Gloria,” a love song celebrating a woman’s love and his gratitude for life, but it permeates the disk. On first listen, I wondered whether he could sustain such an unrelentingly upbeat note, and I kept expecting to get bored by it. Then I took my honey in my arms and we started dancing around the room, and I knew the whole album was endlessly delightful.