Good day to you ladies and gents, time for an album review that I’ve been wanting to do for around a year or two now, today I’ll be talking about The Futurist by Robert Downey Jr. Now this is an album I first heard back in 2008, possibly in 2009 and I really liked it. But it wasn’t until I went to university that I revisited the album and discovered just how much I missed this sound. So how is the album overall? Well read on and find out.
So Robert Downey Jr., great actor, lovely man who’s reformed from his troubled past, and he’s been around in Hollywood for a while. However unless you’re a pretty big fan of his, then you probably weren’t aware that in 2004 he released a music album. To my knowledge there wasn’t a very big release for the album, the reviews were mixed at best and there’s not really many people asking for a new material either. It just seems like a small experimental period in RDJ’s life that few know about, that being said, I believe it’s something worth exploring.
I first came across this album with scanning through Deezer back in college and it was one of those surreal yet nice experiences, and after that point I’ve come back to the album every so often over the years. The Futurist is a good album, its playful and surprisingly heartfelt. Sure the album isn’t life-changing and some could argue about the RDJ’s vocal talents, but for the debut of someone who is known only for their film material this is not a bad effort.
Now I have a hard time describing this album’s sound, it feels primarily like jazz, but it also has elements of easy listening and some other stuff which I honestly wouldn’t be able to pin down because I’m no music expert. While Wikipedia isn’t the be all and end all of knowledge, according to their page this album consists of pop ballads in the jazz and folk genres. Regardless of the specifics, this makes great use of specific instruments like the piano, violin, bass guitar and many others and they blend together to create an interesting array of songs with RDJ’s vocals mixed in.
With all that in mind let’s talk about the tracks:
Firstly there’s “Man Like Me“, the song is simple in composition, but so effective in creating a beautiful and engaging sound. I just love that piano, but also the lyrical content too, and of course there are RDJ’s vocals which are so soft and yet powerful. It’s short and yet so gorgeous and a great way to start the album. Next up is “Broken” which will be the most recognisable song because of its inclusion in the credits of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. From beginning to end this song is all about the emotion. It is a love a song with very vivid lyrics that are sung with such passion and I can’t help but fall in love with this sound. “Kimberly Glide” is arguably my favourite song on the album, it gives me the shivers because of how beautiful it is. I love the introduction, and all of the instrumental material really taps into that jazz sound I love, add RDJ’s vocals and you have a song that’s near perfect for me. “The Futurist” is a nice and sensual jam with some lovely guitar and vocal work. Another track with a fabulous sound is “Little Clownz“, not only are vocals awesome, but if you ever wanted to feel drama through instrumental music listen to this song, it is so powerful and badass especially towards the end.
“5:30“, this song, ah I just love this song. The way it begins with that bass and then the piano and drums kick in, it feels like this song belongs in film where are character is going through a series of events through montage like going to work in the big city or something. Beyond that I like how upbeat and fun sounds. “Your Move” (the first cover song) used to be my least favourite song on the album and while that may still be true, I do love it a lot more than I used to because of the uplifting nature of the lyrics and the good vocals from RDJ and Jon Anderson. “Details” is one of those songs that makes me want to shed tears because of that sweet jazz sound. That piano and the lovely vocals make this one of those songs that could be played in a jazz club or as the first song during a wedding reception. “Hannah” is a song with a subtle, slow and cool sound that blends the music with the vocals very well. And lastly we have “Smile“, a cover of the classic Charlie Chaplin song which feels kind of appropriate considering that RDJ played Chaplin in the film of the same name back in the 90’s. This version feels like a soft jazz jam that really works thanks to RDJ’s vocals that are subtle and yet passionate.
- Man Like Me
- Kimberly Glide
- Little Clownz
So in conclusion The Futurist is nice little album, it may not be for everyone and some may even call it bad but for me I find it quite delightful. There is a lot of fun, emotion and heart in this album and some of these songs are beautiful in composition and RDJ’s vocals compliment the music well. I would say if you are just a bit curious give this album a chance, its worth a listen.
Rating: 7.5/10 (A feel-good and funky collection of songs that make for a fun listening experience)
So have you heard The Futurist and if so what did you think of it? Also if this is your first time hearing about this do you plan to give it a listen in the future? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo.