The Futurist

( 8 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Often praised, long troubled actor Robert Downey Jr. makes his solo vocal debut with The Futurist. Having sang in various film and TV projects, it was often rumored that Downey wanted to make a move to the music business. Well, the rumors were true and the results are largely laudable. Vocally, Downey has a unique sound that falls somewhere between the melancholy twang of Bruce Hornsby and the soulful grit of Joe Cocker -- think Bruce Springsteen doing a cabaret night. Musically, he lands squarely in the adult contemporary vein with songs that recall So-era Peter Gabriel and post-Soul Cages Sting -- synthesizers abound. Respectably, Downey wrote many of the songs on The ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Often praised, long troubled actor Robert Downey Jr. makes his solo vocal debut with The Futurist. Having sang in various film and TV projects, it was often rumored that Downey wanted to make a move to the music business. Well, the rumors were true and the results are largely laudable. Vocally, Downey has a unique sound that falls somewhere between the melancholy twang of Bruce Hornsby and the soulful grit of Joe Cocker -- think Bruce Springsteen doing a cabaret night. Musically, he lands squarely in the adult contemporary vein with songs that recall So-era Peter Gabriel and post-Soul Cages Sting -- synthesizers abound. Respectably, Downey wrote many of the songs on The Futurist as well as collaborated with journeyman pop scribe Mark Hudson -- who also shares production credits here with one-time Yes producer Jonathan Elias. That said, Downey's ear tends toward the languid and his lyrics, while heartfelt, are obtuse and often seem to dance around deep issues without revealing much. For example, on the title track he sings, "They'll take the walk/We'll sage the world/Sounds like October/A Futurist nose/Our furious, curious, fantasist code" -- code indeed. Not surprisingly, though, Downey the actor turns out to be a great interpreter of other musicians' work. His duet with Jon Anderson on the classic Yes track "Your Move" sounds absurd in theory, but the rub between Downey's throaty croon and Anderson's angelic background vocals is truly invigorating. Similarly, he seems to bring all the highs and lows of his life and career to bear on his trio version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," featuring legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden. While the album may not hold any clues to the future of Downey's music career, in the moment The Futurist is as unpredictably moving as the best of Downey's film work.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/2004
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969265420
  • Catalog Number: 92654
  • Sales rank: 25,440

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Man Like Me (2:56)
  2. 2 Broken (5:12)
  3. 3 Kimberly Glide (4:53)
  4. 4 The Futurist (5:00)
  5. 5 Little Clownz (3:47)
  6. 6 5:30 (4:11)
  7. 7 Your Move (4:11)
  8. 8 Details (3:59)
  9. 9 Hannah (4:50)
  10. 10 Smile (3:48)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert Downey Jr. Primary Artist, Percussion, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals, Wurlitzer
Jon Anderson Vocals, Background Vocals
Alan Broadbent Piano
Chad Wackerman Drums
Charlie Bisharat Violin
Gregg Bissonette Drums
Jeff Bunnell Flugelhorn
Tom Canning Hammond B3
Vinnie Colaiuta Drums
Jim Cox Piano, Hammond Organ, Hammond B3
Steve Dudas Acoustic Guitar, Balalaika, Electric Guitar
Jonathan Elias Hammond Organ
Charlie Haden Bass, Bass Guitar
Reggie Hamilton Bass
Mark Hudson Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
Armand Sabal-Lecco Bass
Jimmy Haun Electric Guitar
Cameron Stone Cello
Alec Puro Drums
Sarah Hudson Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Jon Anderson Composer
Charlie Chaplin Composer
Jonathan Elias Producer, Audio Production
Bernie Grundman Mastering
Mark Hudson Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Doug Reid Engineer
Bruce Sugar Engineer
Davis Factor Cover Art
Robert Downey Jr. Composer
Vicenzo LoRusso Producer, Engineer
Kevin Churko Engineer
Russell Nachman Contributor
Lawrence Schwartz String Arrangements
Augustine Dei Wojogbe Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    AMAZING!!!!!

    This CD is amazing! Actually, beyond amazing!!! His voice is so beautiful and original!!! And the instrumentals are insanely awesome and very well arranged!!! I wish he would write and sing more songs, he's is extremely talented and it's a shame that not that many people have heard him sing. I was shocked at how good it was!!! I just discovered the CD today (2010) and it was released in 2004! I'm sure that if he were to ever to make another CD it would go, without a doubt, multi-platinum. This CD is literally like a hidden treasure, and it gave me great joy in discovering it today. It is simply AMAZING!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unbelievably wonderful!!

    I am a Robert Downey, Jr fan and have been since Charlie Chaplain, so had heard some of his music from the Alley McBeal show and the Christmas CD with Vonda Shepard, so I was pretty sure that I would like the Futurist, but, I was so very pleasantly surprised I had no idea I would fall in love with it!! I am turning 50 this year and I have attended my share of Concerts, bought my share of music, and recently made that comment that I did not have an interest to go to any more rock concerts since I had seen everyone that I cared to see that is now still living....but, it looks as though I will have to retract that statement. It has been such a long time since I have enjoyed an album this much!! And, it is not just one or two songs...it is the whole wonderful album...I have tried to pick out a favorite, but, I just can't they are all so different...I will admit that I catch myself singing Broken here lately and Robert's rendition of Smile is incredible!!! The Futurist is so Well Done!!!! I am looking forward to the concert tour and will wait in line for tickets for days if I have too! Robert Downey, Jr. has proven it once again that he goes beyond, acting, writing, singing and being a musician...he is an ARTIST a serious, passionate artist and maybe one of the greatest of our time!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Robert for stirring my passions as well. Peace and Hugs, Kathy Tribble

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Downey's "The Futurist"

    I've been immersing in Robert Downey Jr's new CD after a busy evening and am allowing the hypnotic melodies and lyrics to transport me to a place full of surprises. Yet familiarity exists there too. His bluesy style is something that attracts me as I have always appreciated so many varieties of music, including blues, jazz, pop, ballads and the list goes on. Downey's music is moving, fluid and touches places deep within. It's an admission of having made wrong choices. Of battles he has lost and won. "The mirror takes a look at my face. I'm not gonna set foot in that rat hole again, but I drive to your place..." It's a fabric of pieces that meld together, making sense after only a few listens. The tracks seem to have a nameless, seamless theme, but fit one another like a hand to a glove. It's captivating. "There's an adventurous God out there." He talks of his past, of love, of reality. He speaks in a kind of rhythmic poetry. Not unlike the way he expresses himself with that verbal dexterity so prevalent in many of his film and tv characters. This music surrounds and seduces me, transforming me into a willing participant. "Man Like Me" is a perfect beginning for a CD that strips off the onion layers and reveals the man behind the mask, melody and words. This music is someething to be embraced and sipped upon slowly, like anything worthwhile. A good glass of Shiraz. "Broken" is achingly tender and describes his heart just before it was embraced by love. The songs are splattered primarily with melodic piano bits, strings, various other gentle instrumentals and voice. Robert's identifiable, jazzy vocals and very competent piano playing. A lot of music today is so mass produced and multi-tracked, it deters away from the performer, leaving one with a sense of doubt as to what was actually heard. That is not the case with "The Futurist". "Details" is a song I've played repeatedly now. It's one of the best songs on the CD and once it gets under your skin, you'll want to hear it again and again. If you had no idea Downey Jr. had recorded this CD, you would find it amazingly endearing and genuine. There are no false moves here. It's raw and gentle and real. "I'll spare the details of the rocks and the nails and the times that I've lied... are laid down tonight." It's about where the man has come from to reach this plateau of new beginnings and he can be very proud of his first foray into the world of musical appreciation. One last mention. Downey's cover of Yes' "Your Move" with Jon Anderson providing back up vocals is powerful and hypnotic while "Smile" pulls the entire presentation together as Downey sings about something he knows about. "Smile while your heart is breaking." I'm smiling tonight, Mr. Downey. Thank you so much. Jill

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Warm mood overcoat with a vocal edge.

    Met Downey many years ago making an awful movie with him, "Johnny Be Good." Told him I thougt he could be a fine serious actor. Next, he did "Less Than Zero:" great, but sadly autobiographical. Little did I know his brilliance till I saw "Chaplin." This album only increases his scope: now as a fine, moving, unflinching musical artist. Kudos to him!!! Get your hands on this album!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    I just learned about this today after recently becoming a fan of

    I just learned about this today after recently becoming a fan of Robert Downey Jr and I got to say, I could listen to this man sing all day!!! I too wish he would write more.  Love Robert Downey Jr and I'm sooooo glad he's been clean since July of 2003 :). He stole my heart as Iron Man and now....it's even more gone with his wonderful voice :).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent! Calming!

    What a talented man Robert Downey Jr is! This album is just great! I find the music very calming. Nice to have on when the kids are rowdy, or to just relax to. My 6 year old daughter loves it too, Especially the song "Broken".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great CD...Buy it, you wont be dissapointed

    "The Futurist" by Robert Downey, Jr. is a wonderful cd. Some actors try to be rock stars or try to go from singing to acting. But Robert Downey Jr is able to do both and actually be talented at both. This CD is very well done. I have heard him sing with Vonda Shepered singing Chances Are, and I was suprised because I didn't know he could sing and of course he can. I think that this is one of those few actors who can make a album that is actually good and worth buying. The songs are wonderful, and also the cover art that he did. Every song was done very well and you wont be dissapointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Futurist is Downey Magic

    The Futurist! It's a masterpiece! It's a seductive, smoky, bluesy, sexy work of art! It's pure Downey magic! When Robert appeared on Good Morning America on November 24th, Diane Sawyer said, "He sings like a dream!" I agree with Diane! He sings like a dream come true! Robert has said, "...it would be wrong to believe that all the tunes are confessional, "I'm not necessarily speaking about myself..." Although I'm sure that not every word in his songs is "confessional", I do think he's revealing his very sweet soul for us. This is a fantastic gift for those of us who are his fans, but I don't think it takes away from the universality of his themes. His poetry and his music are for everyone. This CD is a celebration of all things Downey! He's an unusually gifted actor, artist and musician. His talent appears to have no limits! He's healthy and happy and he's only at the beginning of showing us what he can do! Bring it on Robert!!! We're behind you all the way! You are the Goods! :) Suzanne

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews