By Alan Weeks, howiGit Music Writer, Boston, MA
Today marks an interesting day in Music history – the release of a very unique album by an uncanny crew of musicians. Today SuperHeavy released their self-titled debut album. SuperHeavy is a rock super group consisting of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, Dave Steward, and A.R. Rahman. SuperHeavy is the brainchild of Dave Stewart, of the Eurythmics. Stewart said he had the idea for the album while living in his home in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Stewart then urged The Rolling Stone’s front man to fuse their sound with that of Indian orchestras, and SuperHeavy was born.
For those of you who are not familiar with the band members aside from Mick Jagger, I will run down the list for you. Joss Stone is an English Soul singer and songwriter who may be most famous for her cover of the The White Stripes “Fell in Love with a Girl.” Dave Stewart, as stated above was Annie Lennox’s other half of the Eurythmics, who were made famous by their song, “Sweet Dreams.” Damien Marley is of course the son of the reggae superstar, Bob Marley. A.R. Rahman is the strange and interesting part of this group. A.R. is an Indian film composer, record producer, musician, singer, and philanthropist. Time rated him as the world’s most prominent and prolific composer.
Early in 2009 this motley crew experimented in Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles, where they recorded 29 songs in 10 days. They recorded 35 songs total, some lasting as long as one hour and ten minutes long, before being edited down. Judging by this, these guys were not messing around with creating a meaningful album. After listening to this album once through, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the flow and sound of it all. After purchasing the first single from the album “Miracle Worker,” I was unsure as to whether I loved it or lamented it. The mix of Damien Marley’s rhythm section, consisting of bassist/composer Shiah Coore and drummer Courtney Diedrick, and Mick Jagger’s raw vocals is a strange mix for the ear, at first. The mix of dancehall and soul was a hard pill to swallow, but after listening to the album all the way through, I realized they were actually quite appropriate bedfellows. The soul in Stone’s and Jagger’s voice is an amazing compliment to the sometimes mundane sound of reggaeton or dancehall.
Reggae is natural to Jagger, who is largely responsible for Peter Tosh’s cosmic rise to reggae celebrity. In addition to the mix of these sounds, you also have the very talented multi-instrumental Stewart and a renowned Indian composer adding their influences with violins adding to the sound’s thickness. “Satyameva Jayate,” the national motto of India which literally translates to “Truth Alone Triumphs,” is sung by Jagger in Sanskrit and is a very cool track composed by Rahman.
Overall I would say that this album has a pretty cool sound to it. If you are like me, and are biting at the bit for The Rolling Stones to tour next year for their 50th anniversary, you welcome anything that has Mick’s name attached to it blindly. Luckily, this album is more than some musical big wigs getting together to have fun (although it is clear that they are having fun in the album). These guys got together to create something new, which in mainstream music is something of a hot commodity these days. The album sound is diverse, and keeps you listening. To be honest, I like all of the tracks on the album, but if you are looking for a taste of it, the single “Miracle Worker” may not be the best sample. I would check out “One Day One Night” for a better representation. While on the subject of super groups, here are some others that you should do your own research on, and demand a listen. Traveling Wilburys; CCCP; Them Crooked Vultures; Blind Faith; Oysterhead. Check it out and let me know what you think.