Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove - Review
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My famous George Clinton avatar stole the hearts of many Sputnikteers with his incredibly vibrantly colored hair. George Clinton and his two funk powerhouses, Parliament and Funkadelic, made some of the more eccentric music out there, and with George Clinton’s outworldly fashion sense they made a mystical and mysterious identity for themselves. Despite the weirdness, Clinton and friends had an ear for grooves, and these grooves are the basis for the Funkadelic sound. One Nation Under A Groove is the album which, after nearly a decade of releasing incredibly catchy and incredible funk, allowed Funkadelic into the mainstream.

One Nation Under A Groove is the perfect blend of funk, rock, pop, and R&B for Funkadelic to create music that is right for everything from relaxing to going crazy on the dance floor. The album saw the arrival of Walter “Junie” Morrison, who upon arrival became one of the chief songwriters in the Funkadelic process. Eddie Hazel is gone, and in place of him is the young prodigy of Mike Hampton, who finds this album as an evolution in his sound, finally stepping into the role that Eddie Hazel left him. Hampton sounds like a mix of Eddie Hazel, Jimi Hendrix, and just about every other great guitarist of the time. Most songs include screaming lead guitar accompanying the vocals, in whatever form they may be in, with a sense of confidence about Hampton’s playing. The bass playing is superb all the way throughout the album, no matter who is playing it. Bass is always a driving force in funk music, and Funkadelic makes no exception to that general rule. The basslines on the album, whether laid back and cool or aggressive and poppy, are fantastic and never detract from the song in any way. Also worth noting is the vocals on this album. Loosely, the album is about how funk gives people a free mind. Many of the lyrics talk about taking a stand, and throwing in the word “funk” as much as possible.

One thing noticeable in many great funk albums is the strength of the singles. Tower of Power’s self titled album had What Is Hip? Now this album, One Nation Under A Groove, takes the title track and makes it the first commercial hit for the band. The song is a hand-crafted single, marked by an incredibly catchy bassline and hand claps instead of a snare drum. The drummer plays some great rhythms on the tubular bells to make rhythmic activity. The vocals sound straight off of the 80s radio at some points and at others sound like Tower of Power. All kinds of singers take the mic here, sometimes creating a huge mess of vocals where no single person is distinguishable. Upon listening closer, the synthesized brass sounds and guitar comping add a whole different dimension of rhythmic jamming to the song. The song revolves around two main riffs, although at times different riffs occur. The song, partly composed by Morrison, is definitely one of the best Funkadelic songs ever and certainly one of the most accessible.

The rest of the original album goes through without really matching the quality of One Nation Under A Groove. The more laid back yet still catchy and accessible Groovallegiance is great, and Who Says A Funk Band Can’t Play Rock Music doesn’t really make a great rock song, but still sounds like a great blend of funk and Hendrix. The longest song on the album, Promentalbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The DooDoo Chasers), is way too strange although containing a great groove. The song is pretty much a mess of vocals that are indistinguishable in the mix of voices. However, the last 3 tracks added on from what was originally a bonus E.P., makes some of the greatest songs on the album. Lunchmeataphobia (Think, It Ain’t Illegal Yet!) makes a song of excellent screaming lead guitar. In some ways, the song is a better rock song than the intended rock song, most noticeably the opening riff. An instrumental version of Promentalbackwashpsychosis follows, making a better version than the vocalized version. However, what may be the most pleasing track on the album is the live version of the epic guitar solo Maggot Brain. The live version takes the tempo up from the studio version, giving a much different atmosphere about it. Also, the other instrumentalists playing under Hazel make some great fills and add more life to the song. With the bonus E.P. added in, One Nation Under A Groove is a fantastic funk album with mixes of R&B and rock as well.

FlawedPerfection
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