[HOT TRACK]On the Dance Floor, They LeadThe proud and assertive British funk band Jamiroquai is now back with its new fifth album, "A Funk Odyssey," released worldwide on Monday. Since its debut in 1993, Jamiroquai has ruled dance floors all over the world with its hip mix of funk, disco, hip-hop and techno, and groovy vocals by Jason Kay, better known as Jay Kay.
Jamiroquai was named after the combination of two words － "jam," meaning an impromptu performance, and the Iroquois Indian tribe. The band members tend to call themselves "space cowboys," and they have a deep interest in environmental issues (7 percent of profits from the band's debut album went to Greenpeace).
"What people have to remember is I'm a person, just a human being," Jay Kay said recently, "and none of us are perfect. I'm still growing up, and I'm still a kid at heart."
Jay Kay, teaming up on songwriting with band keyboardist Toby Smith, shows some musical growth in this new release, although this growth will not please all their earlier fans. According to Jay Kay, the new sound is "more hard-edged stuff and turbo-powered disco." This is also the first album without the bassist Stuart Zender, who left the band after clashing with Jay Kay, both mentally and physically. But all in all, "A Funk Odyssey" is an upgraded version of the band's spacey sound.
The most significant track in this sense is the seventh, "Black Crow," starting with a solo classical guitar, and soon followed by Jay Kay's more experienced vocal. It is one of the few Jamiroquai songs you cannot dance to, more resembling a ballad than a disco groove.
Jay Kay even said that he cried while writing lyrics for the last track, "Picture of My Life," where he croons "I don't know who I am ... I've been hopelessly confused." Meanwhile, the amusingly titled fifth, "Love Foolosophy," and the eighth track, "Main Vein," remain true to form as Jamiroquai's pleasant, energizing and groovy dance tracks. The main track, "Feels So Good," which starts with an electronic introduction, and "You Give Me Something" are also worthy of attention as Jay Kay's attempt to pursue something new by breaking down traditional genre barriers.
After almost a decade, the talented Jamiroquai has grown up, but the members are still ready to make some more improvements. Jay Kay proudly said, "I feel good about this album;" now it's your turn to find out for yourself.
by Chun Su-jin