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Soundsystem
     

Soundsystem

5.0 8
by 311
 

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Alterna vets 311 are the hip-hop/hard-rock nice guys to Limp Bizkit's rap-metal reprobates. Righteous and spiritual in a sun-soaked whiteboy-rasta vein, they drop their sludge riffs and philosophical lyrics over Chili Peppers-style funk that can be invigorating and, at times, downright uplifting.

Overview

Alterna vets 311 are the hip-hop/hard-rock nice guys to Limp Bizkit's rap-metal reprobates. Righteous and spiritual in a sun-soaked whiteboy-rasta vein, they drop their sludge riffs and philosophical lyrics over Chili Peppers-style funk that can be invigorating and, at times, downright uplifting. SOUNDSYSTEM expands the sound made famous on their hit "Down" without radically deviating from what made it work. Cuts like the restrained, Santana-esque groove workout "Life's Not a Race" will please fans whose taste for alterna-reggae has been soured by too much Sugar Ray. Yet, even as "Come Original" and "Flowing" dip their toes in the electronica idea-pool, be assured that you won't have to wait long on either song for the big, brash guitars to slam in and singer-rapper-pedagogue Nick Hexum to drop his characteristic bright, sunshiny vocals. Which, now more than ever, comes as a nice break from the Korny alt-rock grind.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
311 have been called a lot of things -- primarily some variation of either funk metal, rap-metal, or ska-metal -- but they don't fit neatly into any of these particular subgenres. They borrow from all three styles, plus reggae and new wave, creating their own skatepunk sound that vaguely recalls such contemporaries as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, No Doubt, and Sublime, but never quite sounds exactly like them. Part of that is due to the vocal interplay of singer Nick Hexum and rapper S.A.; their interchanges are unique among skatepunk. 311 also have different ambitions -- ever since their 1995 commercial breakthrough, 311, the band seemed intent on making a great album. Its successor, Transistor, was a flawed effort the length of a double album, and its studio follow-up, Soundsystem -- a 1999 album that followed a live 1998 record -- has its own aspirations. Longtime producer/engineer band associate Scotch Ralston worked with Hugh Padgham (the Police's former producer) on Soundsystem, and the differences are immediately apparent. Benefiting from Padgham's professional skills, Soundsystem is a tighter record, clocking in at 45 minutes. Padgham also helps the band incorporate its various influences into a more digestible form. Though they never come up with a single as strong as "Down" anywhere on the album, the increased focus makes their musical mélange potent. Often, they come close to tying together a vast array of styles -- metal riffing, funk bass, rapping, hip-hop scratching, melodic choruses, trippy reggae vibes, Latin, and ska rhythms -- into something distinctive. It's not necessarily radio-ready, but that's not necessarily a detriment, since they have more musical character than many of their peers. Where most bands are content to ride one groove, 311 pack as many as three or four into one track. This may be at the expense of a pop hook, but it does give them identity, and -- in a weird way -- musical integrity, since their ever-shifting musical gears are clearly the result of a band intent on pleasing itself and its hardcore audience, not a pop market. That means Soundsystem will not play to fans of "Down," even if it's punchier than Transistor. But that additional focus and punch makes it their best album since 311, a fact their hardcore fans will appreciate.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/1999
Label:
Volcano
UPC:
0614223664521
catalogNumber:
36645

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Soundsystem 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this album! True, it isn't as good as ''311'', but that's okay. My favorite songs on this album are Come Original and Flowing. I don't think critics understand how good this album really is. Sure, it's not the usual planned lyrics and generic beat, but that is what's so great about it. It's meant to be ''moving'' music. On Mondays all I have to do is play ''311'' and it motivates me to wake up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is 311s best album cuz it has more hard rock/reggae/funk all in a good mix. 311, just the 411 but make more songs like "Come Original" "Freeze Time", & "Flowing" on your new CDs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As soon as I poped this one in my player, I knew they were wrong! It rocks!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like Soundsystem a lot. I personally find Freeze Time, Come Original, Large in the Margin, Flowing, Sever, and Eons the best songs they've EVER made. This says a lot, since they're probably one of the best bands out there. In fact, they're for sure the best band to ever step foot on a stage, and rock the masses. So find out why people such as myself love 311, and listen to them today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd rocks! It's the only CD ever where I like all of the songs! You have to buy this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD was great. A mixture of punk, rock, ska, and rap. They've out done themselfs agin. What could be better than the creative and soulful lyrics?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely 311s best cd. (Not bashing their other ones,) Every track has the most energy it can hold.Even with strange songs like ''Leaving Babylon'', which is reggae to its fullest, you can rock with this cd every day. People might say its a skater band, but if you dont like skater bands, BUY IT ANYWAY! ITS THE BEST CD OUT THERE