10} Van Hunt : What Were You Hoping For?
The career of Van Hunt is the perfect example of major record labels’ increasing uselessness and irrelevance. This is a guy who looks at Prince and thinks, yeah, I can do that. And he can. Not that he should be thought of as Prince Jr. It’s just that, like His Purple Majesty before him, Hunt successfully fuses rock, pop and r&b with genre-blasting ingenuity. He can sing the tenderest ballad or the dirtiest funk, and he practically sweats out great songs. Hunt’s two records for Capitol were sumptuous, booty shaking, ear popping, slabs of should-have-been-hit singles. Instead of supporting this massively talented musician, the label left his brilliant third album, Popular, unreleased and moved on to their next piece of plastic pop waste product. No worries, you can’t keep a dude this funktastic down. Van’s latest, the cheekily titled What Were You Hoping For?, is a wild and wooly soul train, independently released and exploding with the creative freedom that affords. It’s not quite as luscious and bejeweled as his major label efforts, but the more homespun atmosphere allows Hunt to fly his musical freak flag high. He concocts garage-funk, punk-soul, and ethereal r&b. He mingles surf guitar with sensuous grooves. He also remembered to write a stone rocker classic in Eyes Like Pearls, and an absolutely epic ballad called Moving Targets. Moving indeed.