The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, January 25, 2013, Music

Cody Chesnutt

Landing on a Hundred (Vibration Vineyard)

Ten years ago, when Cody Chesnutt laid down The Headphone Masterpiece, the Atlanta native remained something of a reclusive mad genius. He popped out songs the way Kardashians snap Instagrams – without any editing. From that collection sprang "The Seed" and, in turn, the Roots' eternally awesome "The Seed (2.0)." The recluse then vanished with his royalty checks. Fast-forward a decade, and we're wondering where the time's gone. Landing on a Hundred, which Chesnutt defines as "landing on something truthful," offers more instruments and arrangements in the first two minutes of opener "Til I Met Thee" than Headphone Masterpiece carries on two discs. Horn breaks, string ensembles, backup singers, and drums not made from a Roland TR-808 party from the outset. Confident and collected, Chesnutt recounts his past decade ("Everybody's Brother," "Love Is More Than a Wedding Day"), while questioning the tenets of justice, love, sex, mortality, God, and spiritual rebirth. He re-creates audio blaxploitation on par with Isaac Hayes for "That's Still Mama," drips Princely sex on "Under the Spell of the Handout," and channels Marvin Gaye ad infinitum with uncanny soul. Revealing and inspiring, Landing on a Hundred bangs on the headphones, but sounds like a minor masterpiece on your speakers.


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