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 Savior of the Soull
By Glenn Nippert
May 10, 2004

This is the album guys like Cody Chesnutt and Donnie wished they could make. A rich, full album, imbued with the soul of Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield, yet transcending these influences, big time.

Yes, Van Hunt definitely has his own musical voice and vision. This is the album true Soul music lovers have been waiting for. An album that has all the old magic of their 70's and early 80's favorites, plus something original and new. Van lays down the plan right away on the opening track "Dust", about a failed relationship, that despite the upbeat melody, has left Van feeling lower than low.

Neo soul is a ridiculous term (don't you agree?), there is a direct symmetry between the Soul and R&B stars of today and the classics of yesterday. Track 5 - "What Can I Say" is a brilliant ballad that challenges the listener to hear echoes of The Beatles circa 1966 and Soul 2004 at the same time. The provocatively titled "Down In Hell With You" suggests the drama of fighting and making up as being better than leaving and finding a new relationship. If two people were truly "perfect" for each other, where would the thrill be? The drama and the conflict is often the glue that helps us understand where we would be without each other. (Have you ever experienced "make-up sex?") Van sings "What would I do if we were perfect, where would I go for disapointment?" This sounds defeatist, but actually cuts to the core of why so many relationships fail. The "perfect" relationship is not based on how lovely you look together or how much you have in common, but in how much you are willing to invest in the other person and their dreams and working out your conflicts together and finding new ways to express your love.

Van is a deep cat whose lyrics are way beyond his years. Van could be a major star along the lines of Prince if his mixture of lyrical and musical genius continue to grow. His debut suggests serious long term talent.