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G. Love

There was a time (specifically, 1994) when the sloppy folk-hop-blues of G. Love and Special Sauce sounded fresh. But Garrett Dutton III (or "G.") continues to front like some Frankenstein monster consisting of equal parts Beastie Boy, John Lee Hooker and Mushmouth. Necessarily, such a persona has a short shelf life.

Each successive G. Love album--and there have now been six--has gotten progressively more irritating, largely due to the unchanging nature of his shtick. Music evolves, so by definition, The Hustle--the latest G. Love offering--isn't music. A decade after his 1994 debut, what once was novel is now so played it belongs in the attic with "Candyland" and your woobie blanket.

Perhaps the most annoying song on The Hustle, as difficult as that is to ascertain, is "Booty Call," a transparent and corny attempt to capture the hookup zeitgeist. Undoubtedly, it resonates with G.'s target audience, the softheaded collegiate Dave Matthews worshipper, but for anyone else, it's cringe-inducingly phony. Other sins include at least two references to himself as a "brother" and his incessant use of mixed animal metaphors for women, including a song in which he sings, "The finest fish that I ever seen / is the fish in the back of my limousine," and refers to his cock as his "worm."

The only redemptive element of the atrocity that is The Hustle is the talented rhythm section (Jeff Clemens and Jim Prescott, aka Special Sauce). Their mix of funky rimshot beats and smooth bass lines give the album whatever slight momentum it has. Otherwise, The Hustle is pure tripe.

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