album review: michael franti & spearhead- all people

August 8, 2013

When you initially hear the music of Michael Franti & Spearhead, one thought springs to mind—Bob Marley found the benefits of daily B12 shots. While that is a humorous comparison, the amazing message of the late, great Bob is well preserved—love, peace and fun for all people. 

By: Cara Donaldson for AfroPunk

Album Review: Michael Franti & Spearhead – All People; Released July 30, 2013

Must Listen Tracks: On And On, All People

Grade: B+

Franti’s latest release, aptly titled “All People,” combines one part club banger with two parts nostalgia to create the perfect cocktail for a album full of summer anthems. The title track could easily be found spinning in an EDM club, while at the same time, blasting from the windows of a car on a cross-country road trip. 

Each song on the album seems to feed any emotion you could be feeling at any given moment. “Closer to You” is an ideal dance track with nice, steady bass lines, while Franti injects a bit of humor and cuteness with the big band fueled “Gangsta Girl,” an ode to all the females out there with a bit of edge.   

Franti, who has been an outspoken supporter for many peace and social justice issues for years, continues to use his music as a platform for his message and advice. First single “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)” is the perfect vehicle—modern, catchy and a helpful reminder that all we need is each other. 

That being said, there is a definite time and place for positive upbeat tracks like these, and the average person can only take so much. Tempo wise, we get a break with “Long Ride Home” and “Show Me a Sign,” but by the end of the album, one is almost craving a little darkness to balance out the intensity of Franti’s light. 

“Earth From Outer Space” gives us a little tease of a truly introspective Franti, but leaves us wanting to hear more of his message. Thankfully, we get our fix by the end of the album beginning with “On And On,” an honest and telling message of life in general. From here on out, Franti reflects on many different kinds of loss, from disintegrated relationships to missing someone long for this world to just moving on, creating a natural and relatable closure for the listener.

When it comes to Michael Franti, the music reflects the man—both are filled with wonder and variety. Franti—wearing the hats of poet, musician and composer—produces music that blends hip hop with the amazing complimentary sounds of funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock. This latest effort is a great testament to this spirit of oneness.

Franti is also putting his feel good philosophy into action with the Soulshine Festival, a benefit concert for education and sustainability in and around Indonesia. Franti has been a major component of this benefit since 2006, and describes its purpose as to “educate, enlighten, and inspire.” This year’s festival will take place in December. 

You can catch Franti and company in person during their fall tour, which is making two New York stops at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park (September 16) and Terminal 5 (September 19). For tickets, visit