Funkadelic, America Eats Its Young

An interesting but deeply flawed double outing from the P-Funk collective's early days, with its acid and funk roots plainly exposed. The album is certainly at least as literate as its predecessors while boasting substantially higher production values; the best example of this would probably be the second track, "If You Don't Like The Effects, Don't Produce The Cause," which is part enjoyable groove, part black Greek chorus condemning inaction and hypocrisy towards collective social advancement. If that was the tone for what I can only imagine Geo. Clinton considered a unifying concept, and the album stuck to that, I think the effect would probably have been much better (or at least coherent). But, presumably for commercial appeal, he also throws in the obliquely explicit (and not so obliquely: "I Call My Baby Pussycat" wasn't its original name), the sophomoric (the high-concept "Loose Booty," though the backbeat is good) and the obnoxiously saccharine ("We Hurt Too," y'know, ladies), and ends up sullying the overall unity. Bright spots, besides the second track, are an extremely competent Hendrix impersonation ("Philmore"), the Motowny and philosophically complex "Biological Speculation" ("y'all see my point?"), and a silly interpolation of "Jesus Loves Me" in "A Joyful Process," though this otherwise entertaining piece further gives the impression he doesn't actually take his central message seriously (whatever it is). Don't just take my word for it: the CD reissue, in bold capital letters on page three of the liner notes, calls it "disparate, sprawling and in no ways unified." And indeed listening to the title track, sort of a juxtaposition of "Maggot Brain" (complete with stentorian musings) and the slinky stylings of a porno flick, while the ending female obbligato moans, grunts and gasps as if more young were being made for consumption I couldn't make sense of what he was communicating or why I should care. And neither, apparently, did he. The CD reissue adds the 45rpm mono singles of "Loose Booty" and "A Joyful Process," which being two of the better tracks, are not improved by their abridgment. (Content: adult themes, sexual and drug references.)