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What Were You Hoping For
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
If your looking for the Van Hunt from 2004 with songs like "Down Here in Hell (with you)" or songs from his On the Jungle Floor albums like "Being a girl" (which are both excellent songs...) Well your in wrong spot! That isn't that Van Hunt! What has emerged is a psychedelic punk-rock Van Hunt who still keeps in touch with the soul man inside him. This is Van Hunt's 4th studio release following 2008's Popular which was never officially released but has become a bit of a underground/bootleg sensation. As Hunt has done with his previous albums he continues to grow as an artists.. Going further away from his influences and deeper into his own self. Since Van Hunt's first release of his self titled 2004 album, Hunt has established himself as one of the most talented artists in music today. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has laced his albums with infectious melodies, intelligent lyrics, and rich musicianship, and nothing is different with "What Were You Hoping For?" Van Hunt goes deeper into the deep end then ever before and I couldn't be anymore happier about it!

Track by Track review:

North Hollywood:

North Hollywood begins with a thumbing drum and nasty guitar lick, it reminds me of the nastiness of Hunt's guitar playing that we saw on Popular's "The Lowest 1 of my Desires" This a song that will get your head popping immediately. The songs also sets the tone of album which has a semi conceptual feel to it. with the lyric "There are no more secrets/after you've been evicted/your story sits on abandon couches."

Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane:

This is the song when you realize that isn't your Grandma's Van Hunt! Van Hunt goes straight up punk with this song! The song starts with thrashing guitars and heavy drums but drops to just bass and drums during the verses which draws you right into the song! This is one the albums stands out! You see more of the concept lyrically in this song with the lyrics "We have no dollar bill/To pay our water bill/but were still sexy"

Designer Jeans:

This is the early stand out for me as the best track! It's hard syth bass and drums machine over bluesy guitar is nothing short of SICK! The song has a catchy melody that hooks you in. There isn't a whole lot to say about this song but just that it's simple is awesome! Stand out lyric "People with nothing on their minds/ Need only press a button to share online/ Religion, Atheism, Mass production and consumption of opinions" ---- "Sexuality, Racial Identity, We wear them like designer jeans"

Plum:

This is Van Hunt's ode to a women's behind! We see Van being more playful in this song with lyrics like "As you stare at your new jewelery/ I stand behind you and say "hi, booty!" But all this is done over a nice drum beats and trippy guitar. After the midway point of the song is takes a change as women comes into the right speaker reciting a bit of what I guess you would call a poem. saying "Her body whether in cloths or naked/ Looks like sculpture ready for war". The song ends with some trippy keyboards from keyboardist Peter Dryer.

Falls (Violet):

In Falls (Violet) we see Van Hunt go maybe were he's never been before... Country Western! The song is simple with a country western like guitar backed by a drum machine. Van also is liberal with the use of reverb on his vocal with this track. All of which give the song and nice and unique feel.

Moving Targets:

This ballad lets you know that Van is still able to make those neo-soul ballads that made him famous! This is a very pretty song about love. Hunt is at his usual when beautiful describing the ups and downs of love and relationships. This song features a beautiful piano breakdown w/ gorgeous strings! A very pretty song!

Eyes Like Pearls:

The lead single off the album (which I'm not sure was the best choice) is up beat rocker and features a sick guitar and an almost pop like KO of a melody in it's rocking chorus. Once again Hunt is speaking of love on this song in which he seems to be talking about two people getting married. "Two miles from the church/She shook like California dirt/As I slid my hand upon her thighs/Her eyes like pearls/She's crying precious tears"

A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend:

This song is the on that thew me the most out of my comfort zone. With his is African drums and rock guitars it's very unique! I still need more time really to be able really get this song, but I like it more and more as I adjust to it's original sound. When is it's all said and done this maybe my favirote song on the album!

What Were You Hoping For?:

The albums title track starts off with a collection "talk radio" like clips about religion, science and everything in between. With this track Hunt asks what were people hoping for when they do the thing they have done? with lyrics like "Even tycoons are licking their wounds" This song asks how the recession got there!

Cross Dresser:

Hunt said this was first song recorded on for the album. Lyrically it talks about a broken hearted man who finds himself dressing in his ex-girlfriends clothes to somehow remind himself of her. The song is both funny and sad. but an excellent song! One of my favorites on the album!

It's A Mysterious Hustle:

This is eery song with a heavy a drum machine and keyboards, that song serves a message to Hunt's son to let him know what life path will be like ahead of him. He chants at the end of the song "Stay close to me!" This is another of my favirote songs on the album.

In conclusion with What Were You Hoping For? Van Hunt has established himself as one the most exciting and interesting musicians in the game right now. Not afraid to take a chance, but also knowing you must hit it out of the park when you do, and he always does! I'm not sure if this is Van Hunt's best album to date. It maybe too early to say that. "Popular" is one of my all time favirote albums, but this is better in my opinion then both the self titled album and On The Jungle Floor" and that's saying something cause both of those are EXCELLENT albums!

Bottom line: Buy the album you'll be very happy you did!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
I have been a Van Hunt fan since the very beginnings of his career as a recording artist. I have always thought of him as one of the better songwriters/musicians that came out between 200-2005 at the end of the so-called neo-soul movement. I've followed his career from his self-titled debut album to 2006's On The Jungle Floor, the unreleased Popular, and 2009's self-released Use In Case of Emergency (Rare Items From The Vault). If I have learned anything from following Hunt's career it is that you have to be ready for something different with each release.

When word first started circulating about this album and Van Hunt himself was quoted as saying this album was a departure and his original fan base may not like it, I was skeptical about the record. If the artist is saying their fan base may not like what they are doing, as a fan you're going to expect to hate it. But the more I read Hunt say about the record, the more at ease I became with the idea of "something different." And I'm glad Hunt's comments didn't turn me off the project.

Hunt's songwriting ability is very much as prominent on this record as with any of his other projects, but with a harder underlying melody with some help from the talented Ruth Price (on drums) and Peter Dyer (on keys). If you pick up this album looking for a continuation of any of Van's previous work you will be disappointed. While there are bits and pieces where they may be related (for example "Moving Targets" is like the "What Can I Say (For Milicent) or "Daredevil, Baby" of What Were You Hoping For?) those moments are few and far between to hold the interest of a casual, fair-weather fan. If You are looking for something eclectic, something different then the same thing you hear on the radio and aren't afraid to give "something different" a try, then this album may be for you. Especially if you are like me and find that your CD collection encapsulates music from genres across the board. This is definitely an album that is put together by an artist and it takes multiple listens to truly appreciate it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
I know I am not going to sound "deep". I will say this album complimented his live performance. I was still in the early stages of listening to this release right before his live performance. I was on a mental high after his concert and this album managed to help me escape from the Monday blues at work. This album is different from the previous ones yet the same because this man has a broad range of talent. Each song takes me on a journey. It is exciting to know an album can produce many thoughts that vary from person to person which leads to a means to discuss what he is talking about. This is serious stereo music, this is serious road trip blast your car stereo music. I am the type of person that gets lost in a song and this album takes me to another plateau. Designer Jeans, What were you hoping for, Plum were my faves and the more I listened the more I appreciated every song. That is the beauty of this album along with all of Vans music. If you come across this album with a closed mind you will not be able to fight the urge to absorb every lyric and every tune that is cranked outg from start to finish. Eyes like Pearls, a beautiful love story. Van was able to capture a woman's joy, that takes skill no offense to men out there lol. This music is medicine and a cure for those that are seeking a refreshing change from what is forced through radio. I heavily recommend this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
I've been a fan of Van Hunt ever since hearing his debut album back in 2004. Having never been an R&B fan per se, I picked up the album on the strength of a review in People magazine of all places. What I heard transformed how I view music today. I've become more and more hooked with each subsequent album. His latest release "What Were You Hoping For" [...]), finds Van at his most creative and free. I HIGHLY recommend you buy this CD! You may not be ready for what you're about to hear, but you will thank me later!
Van is a master lyricst, as usual, on WWYHF. This album should finally do away with the "neo-soul" banner that people tried to hang on Van. Actually all labels of the sort need to be thrown out! The collection of songs ranges from all out rock, to punk, to R&B ballads, to futuristic to even country! There were a couple songs at first that threw me a little, but this is what I LIKE about Van. You can't get comfortable and expect the same-old same-old. Songs that I wasn't sure about at first have become favorites on repeated listens. There is not a bad song on the album, and most (oh hell, I say ALL) of them rate a 10 when you fully absorb the genius that is Van Hunt.
This album should earn a Grammy. I think Van will be the Esperanza Spalding of 2011! BUY THIS ALBUM, and if you're lucky, you can catch him on tour!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2012
What Were You Hoping For? is a very different album for Van Hunt. I have been a fan of his from before he released his first and this is an unexpected but not too unorthodox record for him. If you listen to his last 3 albums, you can clearly hear rock and alternative influences. I believe this was his way of just giving him fans what they knew was already there. I expected the album to still have some of the soulful grooves like the first 3, but this in my opinion, is his way of showing us his true colors. At first, it can be daunting or even busy. However, take a listen again, and each time you will be able to see the genius in the album. From the lyrics, to the guitar riffs and the melodies, the Van Hunt that we love is still here however, he has truly evolved and I have to admit, I am growing with him. True fans will learn to love this album like I do and I just cant wait until his next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
You know, back in the day (or say, 5 to 15 years ago), this cd would have been labeled "noise", because that's what it sounded like at first spin. I read the reviews, and even with that, I only had vocal flashbacks of his first two, and I loved them both. Because of that, instead of dismissing it to the "noise" file of my cd life, I made sure that I was in a tranquil place in my head and played it again. I'm now on spin #4, and even though I still can't totally get up with track #8, the disc has enough merit that any fan of soft rock/hard rock/Prince/Cee-Lo Green with a sprinkling of R&B will find the musical joy and talent that he put into this. Dude got the skills, and he don't mind using them. GOOD WORK, VAN!!

P.S. On a side note, this must mean that I'm musically growing. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2011
I wanted to give him 5 stars but opted for 4 as this doesn't feel quite as complete as his other albums, but maybe he wanted it that way-A really raw sound. I like this. Alot. And like that it is different than just about everything else that is out there. One reviewer called the lyrics decadent. I say that reviewer has not listened to much Van Hunt. You really have to listen deeply and give it a few different sittings to really get an understanding about what he is talking about. Which for me is good. I want music, like the books I read, movies I watch, and art I admire, to make me think deeply. Anyway, this is definitely a worthy addition to any Van Hunt collection and I hope he continues making music that pushes the boundaries defined by a tired music industry on the verge of imploding on itself. Thanks Homie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2011
Rarely do I run across albums that are masterpieces from start to finish. But I LOVE this CD. This cd is edgy, insightful, and overall a good listen. My favorites are: Time Machine is my new Girlfriend and Designer Jeans.
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on November 21, 2014
This man never ceases to amaze me. I've been in love with Van Hunt since his first album and he still has me. what were you hoping is an album to where I really didn't know what i was going to get so he titled it very well. It opens up with this rock feel yet he his sultry, yet rough voice is heard throughout this beat. As the album continues he reminds me of why I fell in love with him on tracks like "Plum", "Moving Targets" and "Eyes Like Pearls". Another hit album from an underrated artist. Go check it out and tell me how you like it.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Van Hunt emerged as the master of nu funk with his first three albums. Than all of a sudden in 2008,a third album called Popular was made and than not released. I assume a lot of people were looking forward to that coming out. Instead we got this. Now I noticed since this album gets a lot of praise from listeners,I won't say it'a absolute garbage. But basically it's on this album Van Hunt goes for a sound I'd call psychedelic punk. The songs don't have fluid grooves so I wouldn't call them funk. His vocals are heavily echoed,processed and otherwise distorted throughout so I would'nt call it soul. And most songs are lacking in strong melodies,almost hookless so....it isn't Jimi Hendrix,Vernon Reid or even Lenny Kravitz. Not only that but on songs such as "Cross Dresser","Moving Target" and "It's A Mysterious Hustle" he's persona comes off as being on the depressing side of decadent,

So he did write the music and play many of the instruments here. But if he was trying to do as Prince and Lenny Kravitz have done and innovate his music more in the rock area than funk....I am sorry to say he just isn't quite as able with rock as he is with funk. This sounds like a retro punk or a grunge/alternative album in a lot of places. And an artist of the caliber of Van Hunt could've done a LOT with that! It's a strong musical presidents. But to be honest this is not going to be an album for fans of Van Hunt's R&B oriented sound because it doesn't showcase his great songwriting abilities or,for that matter great production values. It's a musical experiment. And the album cover might be a dead giveaway. I wouldn't go as far as calling this calling akin to a bunch of trash bags. But it does contain music that could all too easily come off as throwaway's. If your interest is more in incomplete sounding,psychedelic sounding punk rock this might be for you. But sadly it's not for me.
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