Last week I wrote about Cody ChesnuTT’s ambitious The Headphone Masterpiece. Following his lo-fi epic is Landing on a Hundred, ChesnuTT’s first album in ten years. Who knows why and how ChesnuTT fell off the radar for so long. All that matters is that he’s returned with a neo-soul album that’s more polished and professional than anything he’s ever done.
Partially recorded in the same studio Al Green used to record in, Landing on a Hundred is a heartfelt tribute to the sweet sounds of seventies soul. ChesnuTT is backed by an accomplished ten piece band that includes a brass section just to give that extra bit of umph! The results sound highly reminiscent of Green or Gaye, but the songs themselves never reach the same level. All the ingredients are there but they never come together in a way that’s truly memorable or savory.
ChesnuTT played with genre on The Headphone Masterpiece. Here ChesnuTT is full on soul, which he certainly has the voice for. Additionally, there’s a strangely appealing dynamic between ChesnuTT’s upbeat melodies and bold lyrics. “I used to smoke crack back in the day” opens the uptempo “Everybody’s Brother”. ChesnuTT likes to tell love or redemption stories without sugarcoating anything.
The downside to Landing on a Hundred is that it takes about twenty-minutes to get to the best material on the album. The peppy “‘Till I Met Thee” opens the album but it’s about a minute too long, the same could be said for almost every song that follows it. What was great about the short song-lengths on The Headphone Masterpiece is that it always left you wanting more. HP is an album that I constantly revisited. Landing on a Hundred is pleasing to the ears, but it wears me down. It took me a good few days to work my way through the album. There’s some inspired moments, but overall it’s a minor footnote in soul music. Either way I’m glad to see ChesnuTT’s return and hope he continues to deliver his brand of un-P.C. pop soul.
Favorite Tracks: “Love is More Than a Wedding Day”, “‘Till I Met Thee”, “Where is All the Money Going”