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Van Hunt, ‘Popular’ (Blue Note)

SPIN iconBy: SPIN Staff // January 30, 2008

Grammy-winning soul man Van Hunt is stuck in commercial limbo: too impish to fill the neoclassicist void left by D’Angelo and Maxwell, not quirky enough to cross over to white alternative fans (see André 3000, Cee-Lo). Add Capitol shifting him to jazz label Blue Note, and Hunt has reason to be frustrated. Thankfully, he’s still straddling fences, melting funk, R&B, and rock (“Turn My TV On”), and toying with minor keys and countermelodies (“There’s Never a G’time 2 Say G’bye”). And on the funk workout “The Lowest 1 of My Desires,” he just brazenly cuts to the chase, shouting: “I wanna fuck you, baby!”