Rantings, reviews and lists from a person who structures half his life around obsessing over music.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove (1978)

4.0 ★/8.0 - 8.9

Albums like these are the reasons why the term "overrated" exists. Looking at the journalistic ratings and reviews fluctuating around on the web, there seems to be very few critics who view One Nation Under a Groove as any less than a perfect album. But seriously, are these people listening to the same album I am? The title track is good but how songs like "Grooveallegiance" and "Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock" went on to become fan favorites, should be classified as one of those baffling unsolved mysteries of the world, alongside Stonehenge and The Bermuda Triangle. The former is simply an awkward and meandering attempt to integrate Reggae, while the latter sounds like it was written by the cast of Sesame Street. Yeah, there are good parts in both of them (mainly the jam sections) but why in the world would anyone want to slog through the silly, forced, weakly structured songs they're attached to when there's almost no limit to the same brand of jam-band perfection in the rest of the Funkadelic discography already? However, in defense of the critical consensus, things get significantly better thereafter. Scat-Porn groove, "P.E. Squad/The Doo-Doo Chasers", is actually a lot less repulsive than it sounds. As a matter of fact, with soulful breakdowns, inspired guitar solos and hilarious one-liners it remains one of the smoothest, sexiest and most refreshingly natural tracks written under George Clinton's reign. The next two songs feel just as relaxed, and create a nearly flawless second half, that makes up for the fractured first half. Don't let the critics fool you; it's not crazy to think that every Funkadelic album released on Warner Bros. failed to reach the heights of their Westbound works...but despite its flaws and obvious attempts to replicate Parliament, One Nation Under A Groove is the sole exception, retaining a personality and coherence that definitely makes it worth owning. Still, even those who consider the album a shining light surrounded by the darkness of Funkadelic's later days, will probably have a hard time really accepting it as one of their masterpieces.

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