Esthero – Wikked Lil’ Grrrls (CD)

Esthero now is much different than ey was back in 1998, when I was lucky enough to see the “Heaven Sent” video. It looks like there was a decent period in Esthero’s career where ey was deep in the shadows – the album that had “Heaven Sent” on it came out in 1998, and Esthero didn’t come out with anything new until 2004. It may just be the case that Esthero has came out with the strongest opening to any disc I’ve ever heard with “We R In Need Of A Musical Revolution” , a track that taps a feminist, female-positive groove with differing instrumentation (the early-nineties, heavy-synthesized r&b beat). Even more exciting to those fans of Bitch & Animal and Dar Williams is the slam poetry that immediately follows “Revolution”, a one-minute interlude called “Dragonfly’s Intro”.

There is a lot of pop in tracks like “Blanket Me In You”, which really will get individuals thinking. If “We R In Need Of A Musical Revolution”, then is Esthero a believer in the idea of a revolution from within? And more so, is it a possibility to be swaddled in the vestments of something as soul-sapping as current popular music and honestly believe that you can change things? Esthero’s “Wikked Lil’ Grrrls” seems to be the better-thought out and more solid (and let us not forget, more sincere) version of Pink’s “Try This”. The incorporation of different genre’s to the style of pop that Esthero puts forth on “Wikked” is perhaps the one thing that should most draw listeners; present on the title track, a swing-rock type of groove (think Squirrel Nut Zippers) slides in easily to a clap-heavy R&B stomp.

There is no shortage of guest spots on this album; Cee-Lo takes a track (Gone), just as Sean Lennon has earlier (Everyday Is A Holiday). What really makes these tracks different than the usual pop collaborations is that the guest stars may lightly influence the music of the track, but do not strive to gain the spotlight (unlike any track that has Ludacris or Ashanti on it). Greater cohesion on this album is made, which if one thinks about is a rarity in this day of albums crafted around the success of one or two tracks. “Wikked Lil’ Grrls” is a discs of emotional highs and lows, and really tells a story that is as rich as any text that could be committed to print.

Top Tracks: Gone, We R In Need Of A Musical Revolution

Rating: 7.0/10

Esthero – Wikked Lil’ Grrrls / 2005 Reprise / 17 Tracks / http://www.esthero.net / http://www.repriserecords.com / Reviewed 15 August 2005

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