Review: “What Were You Hoping For?” by Van Hunt

Posted by The G on August 29, 2011 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photo courtesy of Van Hunt’s official website.


"What Were You Hoping For?" by Van Hunt. Available September 27, 2011

I am so excited that Van Hunt is back on the scene with another record.  If you don’t know Van Hunt’s music, I recommend you remedy that immediately.  His debut record, “Van Hunt” is R&B perfection.  His vocals, grooves and lyrics will impress fans of Prince and Curtis Mayfield.  Van’s 2nd record “On The Jungle Floor” adds a rock and roll element to the mix.  His 3rd album, the very experimental “Popular” was unfortunately never released officially due to record label disputes.  He’s back with his 4th (or 5th album if you count his internet only release “Use In Case of Emergency”) “What Were You Hoping For?” and you’ll be reading my comments as I listen to the record on my first listen.  Van Hunt is on tour in the fall of 2011 and if you’ve never seen him live before, you must see him!  He is so talented and creative, he always changes the arrangements of his songs – a quality that not only are very few artists to pull off these days but the fact is – most artists don’t even try.

1. “North Hollywood” – The album starts out with a funky rocker.  Van Hunt is talking about his neighborhood North Hollywood and writing new tracks in this area.  Favorite lyric: “the fastest way to a man’s pocket is on his rocket.”

2. “Watching You Go Crazy is Driving Me Insane” – Another fast rocker.  Favorite lyric: “I went to my priest to beg the church for relief.  He said they had bigger problems to address than me.  I pressed my luck and asked for a cup of Jesus’ blood because it tastes just like grape juice.”

3.  “Designer Jeans” – Psychedelic, spacey and funky!  Van has some effects on his vocals and the track has a banging beat.  Van mentions that his religion is Atheist.  I knew I loved this brother!  He talks about how people wear their prejudices like designer jeans.

4. “Plum” – Another spacey and funky jam that clocks in at 6 and a half minutes!  There’s a great instrumental section at the end of the song.

5. “Falls (Violet)” – This song is a slow, country-esque track.  Van says he’s “violet on the inside.”

6. “Moving Targets” – Another slow track.  Van talks about how nobody can hit a moving target.  It’s a love song too.

7. “Eyes Like Pearls” – The funk/rock which is very prevalent in this album is back!  He talks about a girl with eyes like pearls crying precious tears.

8. “A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend” – A garage rock track with a fast chorus.  Favorite lyric “time is a play thing.”

9. “What Were You Hoping For” – The title track is mid-tempo.  The chorus is very catchy as he says “Maybe that’s the mechanism to bring me closer to you.  Tell me what were you hoping for?”

10. “Cross Dresser” – A funky, fast and rockin’ track.  Van’s talking about wearing the clothes of his ex-girlfriend that she left behind to get to know her better.  I think this song is an early contender for my favorite jam on the album.

11. “It’s a Mysterious Hustle” –  The album closes off with a slow but funky jam.  This is also a contender for my favorite track on the album.  There’s no such thing as the “classic Van Hunt sound” because his music is very diverse, but I would say this song wouldn’t be out of place on his debut record.

I am digging this album.  I am looking forward to hearing it more as it expands Van Hunt’s already large musical pallet.  I think his fans will enjoy it as well and I cannot wait to hear this album performed live.  New Yorkers, Van will be playing at The Studio at Webster Hall on September 19, 2011 (the day before my birthday)!  You’d be foolish to miss it!

Let us know what you think!!

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  • anc282 said,

    I first read your review on Prince.Org and this part caught my attention: “Van mentions that his religion is Atheist.” I went back and had a REALLY close listen to what he said and I can tell you that the actual lyric is: “Press a button to share online, “Religion: Atheism.” To me it sounds more like he’s talking about somebody ELSE.

  • The G said,

    Thanks for the clarification. Either way, what matters to me is that Van makes such great music and this album is growing on me more and more with each listen. LOVE HIM!