More than ten years ago, Cody Chesnutt dropped The Headphone Masterpiece, an unapologetic collection of insular songs that a friend once described as, "that album I go to when I want some good 'ol, unadulterated misogyny." There was "War Between The Sexes" and "Bitch I'm Broke" and a string of other tracks -- many less than two minutes -- that raged with Lothario insolence. It was all quite arresting and made his debut a classic.
After a long layoff, Chesnutt is back with Landing On A Hundred. The album answers the question "What happens when a heathen finds his god?"
About two years ago, on the heels of releasing his EP Black Skin No Value, Cody told Fader:
Headphone Masterpiece encapsulated a lot of the things I was going through at that time. I was still pretty much a young adult; there were some relationship things that were happening. A lot the album happened spontaneously, but it reflected my lifestyle at that point in time and life as I’d known it up to that point, when I didn’t have the most godly outlook on life. It was incredibly honest, though, it was where my energy was. My work is the same now; it reflects where I am in my mind, in my heart, in my spirit.
If Chesnutt's sole appeal to you was "good 'ol, unadulterated misogyny" then this might concern you. If, however, Chesnutt's raging id was just another ingredient -- among his gutter musicianship, deftly unique songwriting and charisma -- which made him a one-a-kind "must listen," then he's still got you covered.
Initially, it's definitely jarring to hear Chesnutt's signature rasp over a few gospel melodies and some feel-good, triumphant chords ("Love Is More Than A Wedding Day), but it works. And the thematic string of the album -- highlighted by songs like "Don't Wanna Go The Other Way" and "What Kind Of Cool (Will We Think of Next)" -- fills in the provocative-void with moral substance. "Don't Follow Me" is as cold as he's ever been, even if it conjures an old head's cautionary tale.
New music, new dude, same dope.