Van Hunt – What Were You Hoping For? | Album Review

Van Hunt - What Were You Hoping For?

Naming your album What Were You Hoping For? is a pretty bold statement with a few different outcomes, most commonly a statement exclaiming boldly that this album is a genius of sorts. With neo-soul rocker Van Hunt’s latest musical installment What Were You Hoping For? , released this September via his own label Godless Hotspot, he gives listeners exactly everything they were waiting for with a little bit more.

When Van Hunt entered the scene in 2004, with his self-titled debut album which penned songs like “Down Here In Hell,” “Dust,” and “Seconds of Pleasure,” he was a little more on the funky side.  His sophomore album On The Jungle Floor, a rather soulful and edgy project, then followed. Hunt was then set to release his third album, Popular, however, the project was never officially released.

“It set me back a year.  To be honest, I was kind of numb to the whole thing as it happened,” says Van Hunt.  The setback of Popular made way for his latest installment, which the mainstream masses may not necessarily understand.   For this album, Van Hunt enlists the help of drummer Ruthie Price and keyboardist Peter Dryer that helped to create an organic vibe.  The album is more rock driven than the rest of the material in his discography and more Jami Hendrix than “Down Here in Hell.” The lyrics on this album are phenomenal exploring a wide variety of subject matters through metaphors.

The album opens with “North Hollywood,” which tells listeners essentially about where he is today—in the literal sense.  It is said that North Hollywood and the Los Angeles culture in general inspired a lot of this project for Van Hunt, especially with the images of Los Angeles’ homeless population.  

Van Hunt – “North Hollywood”:

“Designer Jeans,” speaks essentially to the bandwagon and social media crazed society that we live in today.   The lyrics on this song are rather interesting and honest, as Hung sings: Baby, I know we feel more comfortable in our status symbols and the places we hold on the totem pole.  Our political views, our tattoos, and our hair dos.  Don’t need no strategy, to get us out in our designer jeans.  Message me on the bathroom wall, original network social.  People with nothing on their minds need only press a button to share online: religion, atheism, mass production and consumption of opinions.

Van Hunt – “Designer Jeans”:

The first official single from the album, “Eyes Like Pearls” is a beautiful song and the lyrics featured on the song only drive that point home.  This song is essentially a wedding song, or could be taken that way if listeners interpret the lyrics literally: After I promised her my best, she turned to our guests and blinded them with her high beams.  With eyes like pearls, she’s crying precious tears as I hold her and she looks into the sea with a distant yearning.

The title track on the album features a rather vintage sample with audio clips that enter the song.  The song speaks about two families who are each attempting to survive in a particular neighborhood that realistically would’ve never met, however the two youngest members of the family fall in love with one another.  While “Cross Dresser,” serves as a metaphor of loss and attaching yourself to the person’s left over belongings.

Van Hunt gave fans exactly what they were waiting for with the album.  It’s a beautiful progression from where listeners last saw him, and it’s a very passionate project from both a lyrical and musical standpoint.

Van Hunt- What Were You Hoping For?
Released: September 27, 2011
Label: Godless Hotspot/Thirty Tigers
Buy: / iTunes US / Amazon US / Amazon UK

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