K’Naan Country, God or The Girl Album Review
By Energy 106
K’Naan is back with his fourth full length studio offering. It’s been three years since Troubadour made K’Naan a household name and some of the tracks on Country, God or The Girl may sound familiar as they appeared on the More Beautiful Than Silence EP released earlier this year. Staying true to his eclectic musical style K’Naan continues to mix bass-heavy African rhythms with slick guitar licks and on this album he adds some piano courtesy of Canadian ex-pat Chilly Gonzales and experiments with bigger sounds and sweeping orchestrations.
There’s a wide range of talent on God, Country or The Girl with guest appearances by Nelly Furtado, Nas, Bono, Keith Richards, Will.i.am and Mark Foster. It was recorded in some incredibly famous studios from Vanilla Sky in California to Electric Lady in NY. There’s also some amazing behind-the-scenes talent with production from RedOne (Pitbull, Lady Gaga, Enrique, J-Lo & Nicki Minaj) and Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss).
On this album it’s easy to hear why K’Naan is able to bridge genres and play different kinds of shows from Folk Fest to opening for Ludacris. Some of the tracks like Gold in Timbuktu, 70 Excuses and The Wall are folksy lullabies while others like Bulletproof Pride and Sleep When We Die have a more rock feel and of course some solid raps on cuts like Waiting is a Drug and Nothing to Lose.
Besides the two prominent singles; Is Anybody Out There? and Hurt Me Tomorrow, there are two more standout tracks. Better features production from OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and a Coldplay sample. They hit it out of the park on this one, it’s sure to be the next single. The other track that will probably catch your ear is the happiest sad song I’ve ever heard, the anthemic The Sound of My Breaking Heart.
Overall, Country, God, or The Girl is a very listenable album that’ll grow on you. Older K’Naan fans might be underwhelmed with the lack of more hard-core raps and how K’Naan appears to be leaning away from the politics that heavily influenced his earlier work. New fans however will find God, Country, or The Girl to be a great starting point that may encourage some musical digging into K’Naan’s back catalogue.