Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic (August, 1971)

Dad's Take:

I discovered this album a couple years ago. Somehow it had slipped my attention, although I was aware of Funkadelic and had heard a couple of the songs. From the first time I put it on, I knew this one was for me.

I love funk, and I like psychedelic, and this combines them. What's not to like?

If Brad was a little bothered by the musical sameness across songs one the last album we reviewed, he'll be pleased by the large difference between songs on this record. The album begins with one of the great guitar solos, a mind-bending lengthy performance that transports the listener to another world. Next comes a soulful gospel sound on "Can You Get To That." And, of course, "Hit It and Quit It" is a funky rocker featuring more great guitar work from Eddie Hazel. Next they channel Sly and the Family Stone (minus, maybe, the hyperactivity, that wonderful hyperactivity of Sly's best work) on "You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks." "Super Stupid," is another highlight, some great funk rock.

The record continues on that way, blending funk and rock and psychedelia and electronic sounds through the music and the sometimes socially conscious and sometimes abstract lyrics. The combination is, I think, fun, and definitely far from boring. Even the long final track, Wars of Armageddon" holds my interest through its sheer weirdness and humor.

Can't wait to see how the boy reacts to this one. The production is a little muddy at times, and he's not really into the whole psychedelic thing. On the other hand, he likes him some good guitar and some funky rhythms and some humor.

I really like this one. It might not ever make my personal top 20, but I like to pull it out every now and then and get down with my psych self.

Brad's Take:

Why not start an album off with an instrumental, 10 minute long guitar solo track? Apparently, Funkadelic wanted to be funky and experimental for their opening track. This track is a little misleading though and doesn't really showcase what this album is all about, in my opinion. The next couple tracks, while still funky and kinda weird, they're more straightforward funk/rock jams.

During the third track, "Hit It and Quit It," it ends with an epic guitar solo which is masked by a bunch of weird noise. I imagine this is probably what Jimi Hendrix's music sounded like to his audience back in the 60s, while they were trippin' on stuff to make it more "funkadelic."

This album actually surprised me. Even though it's a bit weirder than I usually gravitate towards, I actually enjoyed this album a lot. Most of it, at least. However, there's only 7 tracks. My favorite songs were "You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks" and "Super Stupid." Both of those songs have great grooves and lots of emotion and fun behind them.

The last two tracks on the album are more less just experimental jams/random noises. The album ends with some crazy fart noises though (seriously) so I can't hate on it too much. It's a good/better-than-good album of funky experimental jams. I liked it.