First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2002, Volume 9, #4
Written by John Metzger
Clarence Greenwood a.k.a. Citizen Cope began his career playing DJ behind Maryland rapper Basehead. After issuing an indie-released solo effort and donating a handful of compositions to a series of compilation albums and movie soundtracks, Greenwood scored a deal with Dreamworks, which recently released his eponymous major-label debut.
Throughout Citizen Cope, Greenwood fills his songs with hip-hop rhythms, while also injecting a healthy sense of ’60s idealism and stoner folk. In a sense, Greenwood’s approach is not unlike Macy Gray’s in that they both make use of the past to make music that is firmly rooted in the present. Where Gray succeeds brilliantly, however, Greenwood often falls flat. True, there are moments where he seems to be onto something — the Radiohead-like instrumental Intro, the subsequent mantra-like quest for connection Contact, the urban folk grooves 200,000 and Salvation — but in the end, the bulk of his songs and his album never quite amounts to anything more than the usual brand of generic rock.
Citizen Cope is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box