CD Review of Every Waking Moment by Citizen Cope

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Every Waking Moment
starhalf starno starno starno star Label: RCA
Released: 2006
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When the most interesting thing about an album is its cover art, you know you’re in trouble. And when that cover art is interesting primarily because it’s probably the ugliest you’ll see all year, you know you’re in serious trouble.

Every Waking Moment isn’t the worst blues-rock-hip-hop hash that’s ever been served. As a genre, though, this type of fratty roots music has always been fairly annoying. At best, artists like Citizen Cope and G. Love are best served over cold beer and hot coals; under scrutiny, though, the songs disappear in a puff of suspicious-smelling smoke. And this record isn’t anybody’s best.

That’s the problem with basing your entire sound on sounding like you aren’t trying too hard. Cope (née Clarence Greenwood) has shown flashes of something passing for inspiration before, but Moment is a hazy collection of fragments – most of them noisily overproduced – masquerading as songs. And even when the record takes a step forward, like with the slight, quiet “Left for Dead,” it takes two steps back; that song’s “AEIOU” refrain makes the chorus of Fergie’s “London Bridge” sound like Nietschze.

This is a sound whose time came and went at least five years ago, and yet, somehow, keeps finding its way onto major-label release schedules. There can’t be that many hacky sack tournaments needing soundtracks. Greenwood – and artists like him – would be better off getting day jobs than continuing the hunt for Bradley Nowell’s ghost. The rest of us would be better off, too.

~Jeff Giles