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Craig David - Slicker Than Your Average Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 November 2002

Craig David
Slicker Than Your Average
format: CD
label: Atlantic
release year: 2002
performance: 7
sound 8
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

ImageIsn’t it odd how Brits can be so darn gloomy? Take Craig David, for example: Here’s a young man with naturally good looks and a sweet and quivering vocal style, yet his soul-dance music carries with it an undercurrent of anxiety and depression. How does such a thing happen? Seemingly every day, in direct contrast, the pop charts produce an American hip-hopper straight out of the ghetto who only wants to sing about sunshine and girlies. Maybe it’s all that foggy weather over there or something that makes this music come out so distinctly gray. Whatever the case, Craig is not more happy-go-lucky than your average, that’s for sure.
In a few places, Craig David lets loose, such as with the funk-a-licious “What’s Your Flava?,” which grooves along to handclap percussion and bass-y keyboards. There’s also the low-key dance anthem of “Hands In The Air.” But the artist’s second release is mostly characterized by its reflections on the high price of fame, and how such notoriety adversely affects those who are closest to the performer.

The title track of “Slicker Than Your Average” reminds one of ‘70s Al Green music, due to its staccato organ soul groove. With it, David asserts his musical credibility for those in the underground who may still be overtly jealous about his newfound success.

Another track, “Rise & Fall”, featuring guest vocals from Sting, speaks openly about all the vices that suddenly appear as so appealing, once success has reared its ugly head. This track also ruminates on an inevitable commercial fall from grace. But on album number two, isn’t it just a mite too soon to start thinking such morbid thoughts?

All these career-related changes in David’s life have apparently given the singer more girl trouble than he knows what to do with. Sure, “Fast Cars” uses the metaphor of souped-up motor vehicles to describe how appealing fast women can be, and “Spanish” speaks about the allure of foreign-tongued women. Yet these are but rare glimpses of light on an otherwise dark aural outing, as “Eenie Meenie” mixes in speedy trip affects for a track that bemoans gold-diggers, among other things, and “What’s Changed” frets over a relationship gone bad.

While the sound David goes for here is comprised of mostly up-to-the-minute dance beats, he also sounds particularly fine on the album’s slower numbers. “You Don’t Miss Your Water (‘Til The Well Runs Dry)” utilizes an old blues/gospel saying for a measured meditation upon setting ones priorities right, and “World Filled With Love,” which in some ways sounds a little like something a blacker George Harrison might have recorded, finds the singer looking back fondly on some of the things he’s left behind in his quest for success.

Overall, this new release finds Craig David sounding sadder and slicker than your average bloke.

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