The Austin Chronicle

ACL Fest Reviews

Record review

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, September 17, 2004, Music

G. Love

The Hustle (Sony) There's absolutely nothing wrong with making music that makes people feel good. If an artist's overarching goal when entering the studio is to get rumps shaking and faces breaking into involuntary smiles, well, more power to them. But jeeze, G., would it kill you for just a little originality on your sixth album? Don't get me wrong – many of the songs are fun, catchy, even. Witness the cheeky rap-lite of "Booty Call," the playful, faux reggae kink of "Give It to You" (featuring Jack Johnson), and the sexy slow-jam of the title track, with its low, groaning bari-sax and upright bass slides. Hell, there are even sweetly sincere moments, as evidenced on the intimate "Love" and "Loving Me" (hmm ... theme?), so it's hard to find too much fault. But as the album progresses, the niggling feeling of déjà vu only intensifies, the sense of "Haven't I heard this song before?" becoming inescapable. Soon, the realization sets in that the only thing that's changed in the music are the production values and the fact that this material lacks the panache and charm of tunes like "Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce." Then again, Garrett Dutton and his crew have stumbled upon a formula that works – genre-bending good-time music – so if it ain't broke, why fix it? But, caveat emptor: Anyone approaching this album expecting to hear anything other than the same old derivative jams may find themselves feeling hustled. (Saturday, 5pm, SBC stage)


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