Tuesday, 23 August 2011 16:35
It’s appropriate that Travis Atria and Collin Whitlock, of Beatles cover band The Shoddy Beatles, would make an R&B album that sounds like a cross between James Brown and the Beatles—“The Funky Beatles” perhaps?
Whatever you call them, Killa Dilla shines with exuberant brilliance.
By Greg Allard
The album, full of a driving bass, nifty keyboards, a dash of horns and just the right amount of guitar, follows the rise and fall of fictional funk star Snooky Green, who seems to be one part James Brown, George Clinton and Rick James. This concept album is divided into two parts—“The Great Snooky Green” and “The Fall of Snooky Green”—and could be called a spoof if it wasn’t for its kickass songs.
Opening track “Everybody Knows I’m Here” begins with the entrance of Snooky declaring “God damn, I’m a man, and when I step into the room everybody knows I’m here” foreshadowing the biblical passage, “Pride cometh before the fall.” The song sounds like James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” most likely intentionally.
The next two tracks find Snooky on top of the world and strutting his stuff for every curvaceous chick to lust after. In “Believe That Shit” Snooky cock-a-doodles, “If you thought I was a sucka, well, I’m a bad mother f***a.” In the title track, Snooky boasts with a confidence that channels Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady.”
“Lovey Dovey” is bona fide single material in the style of Smokey Robinson, depicting Snooky humbled by love. In “I’m in Love (Too Good to be True)” he giddily confesses “If this could be, it would make me so, so happy.” At the end of part one, Snooky cheats in what proves to be the beginning of the end.
The second half of the album chronicles a descent into darkness as fortune and fame get to his head with lyrics like, “Did you leave the fans behind or did they leave you?” and “At the bottom of the world again—they don’t even know my name,” as he contemplates turning to Jesus to get him out of his pain.
“Ever So Gently (When She Leaves)” is a lovely, melancholic lament on lost love. Snooky asks desperate questions like, “If you love me, then why did you leave?” The 16-track work ends with the news bulletin of Snooky Green’s death and a jazzy send-off into the afterlife.
Although many people no longer listen to albums as a whole, this concept work has the potential of going down as a cult classic.