Although Texas native Rodney Branigan now resides overseas in London, he hasn’t lost his sense of roots. In his latest album, Nothing Better To Do, Branigan blends blues, americana, and hip-hop (yes, you read that right) exquisitely. Although this combination may sound odd at first, Branigan makes it work too well, it’s no wonder he’s no stranger to the festival scene.
Nothing Better To Do starts on a high note with “Muddy Jesus. “This song is made for the airwaves. Not only does it have strong instrumentals, but it also features beautiful scenery painting lyrics that help you picture what Branigan is trying to say. The next track, “The Way You Move” is a pleasant surprise. Branigan tackles Outkast’s “The Way You Move” off of their critically acclaimed album Speakerboxx/The Love Below. If you didn’t know that Outkast was the original artist for “The Way You Move,” it’s easy to see how anyone could think it was a Branigan original. He brings a different twist to the song that still totally pays the original justice.
“Body Language” brings a Dave Matthews-esque vibe. The song is great for jamming and singing along, too, and Branigan just croons through the entire song. He hits the hip-hop americana vibe again with “Bust A Move” (a Young MC original). He somehow manages to twist these classic hip-hop anthems into something that gets your boots tappin’. “Champagne and Reefer” is a down and dirty party tune. It’s perfect for those nights in your neighborhood bar where you and all your friends just jam all night. “Champagne and Reefer” has excellent sing-along lyrics, a smooth voice and plenty of groove-worthy melody to get you in the party mood.
Branigan’s voice really shines in the title track “Nothing Better To Do.” He claims he has nothing better to do than love you, and you can truly feel his emotion in this track. “Buckets” features more of a funky blues vibe that isn’t as prevalent on other tracks of the album. Branigan makes a nod to his many festival appearances on “Stop The Rain” with a mention of Glastonbury. The track also gives a bit of history behind Branigan’s travels as a musician. In the final track of Nothing Better To Do, “Going Gone,” it’s easy to pick up on some Santana influence, with just a slight tweak of a heavier blues tone. The song is an excellent way to end the album.
Nothing Better To Do is at the very least a fun album. It’s very accessible. Fans of plenty of genres can get behind this album, and they should. Branigan successfully manages to unite very different genres into one cohesive album. There is not anything in Nothing Better To Do that feels forced or cliché. Branigan’s raw talent is very impressive, as is Nothing Better To Do.
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Muddy Jesus
– The Way You Move
– Body Language
– Champagne and Reefer
– Nothing Better To Do
The Big Hit
– Muddy Jesus
Review by Alysha Rendflesh