Released in 2011
-by Leilani Polk
-courtesy of Creative Loafing
“My name’s Jeremy Gloff, bitch!” the local pop staple declares scornfully, introducing himself, the first song, and title track off his 17th and latest album, THIS, before guest singer Anye’ Cole launches into the hook with throaty vivacity: “Got style, you know I’m independent / Got cash, you know I’m gonna spend it / Glamorous – I am this.” The organic melodic warmth of her vocals is a nice foil to the sing-song/spoken-word robo-monotone Gloff adopts in “This,” its message a confident affirmation of self-worth.
Gloff serves generous doses of his frank sincerity, impudent charm, and wry outlook in the 10-track LP. Rainbow-hued or midnight-dramatic sonicsapes are brightened with bursts of glittery effects, intermittent guitar and hand claps, carried on machine drum beats, and fleshed out with backing vocals and additional instrumentation by a range of guest musicians. Songs jump from the Dark Wave dissonance and hilariously morbid commentary of “Junkie Love” (“Show me the money, I need some blow”), to fluffy-fun club-bumpers like “Back and Forth” with its fickle hot-and-cold narrator, to the rambling dirt rock groove of “Small City,” about making the best of where you land with femme guest singer-rapper Shunda K, who lends the song a bit of soulful hip hop appeal.
Not every song works; “Outsiders” and “Short Fuse” are a little too New Wave dreary-dramatic and the candy-coated “Never Grow Old” is almost painful to sit through. But THIS closes on a high note with the chorus-backed “World Won’t Do It,” a take-control-of-your-own-destiny call-to-action pop anthem. (Crunks Not Dead Records, jeremygloff.com). 3 and 1/2 Stars
-by J.J. Vicars
THIS disassembles the typical components of Pop music at the start of the 21st Century, replaces vapidity with substance, and reassembles the whole thing into a groovy little disc. You’ve got to love an artist who doesn’t rest on his laurels. Once again Jeremy Gloff moves over the next horizon. Expanding on the newfound maturity of his previous disc, he continues to utilize space to give the lyrics and music greater impact while his diverse influences further coalesce into a distinctive musical voice.
Every track features a strong hook and to those of us “raised on radio” is a summertime hit. On the opening title track sparse bass and catchy synth fills behind a vocal duet with Anye’ Cole set the tone for the album. OUTSIDERS contrasts his straight-to-the-point lyrics against a very modern Pop sound, as if he’s deliberately poking fun at the mainstream by using their musical motifs to his own ends. The contrast follows through the next two songs, then SHORT FUSE opens with a synth riff with echoes of Kim Carnes leading into a chorus reminiscent of the Stones “Out of Control”. SMALL CITY vaguely echoes the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” with it’s laid back groove, pulsing bass line and electric piano with acoustic guitar providing occasional background muscle. But it’s all now and it’s all Gloff. Shunda K is featured on vocals in this ode to a cozy burg over a trendy locale. INTENTIONAL VICTIM is quintessential Gloff, the uptempo ballad that only he can write, sounding as if it were a movie soundtrack, the background vocals reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac in their prime. One more foray into Dance/Pop diva territory and then the album starts to climax with NEVER GROW OLD. America’s sick obsession with youth is framed by yet another quintessential Gloff masterpiece. No other current artist, indie or mainstream, is so in tune with the mood of today’s era.
WORLD WON’T DO IT bookends the album with the opening cut, bringing it full circle. Once again a sparse groove slowly simmers and builds as he lyrically defines his current stance. The song features not one, but two sing-along choruses! Once more female vocals are extensively featured, this time with a funky R’n’B guitar break in the middle and a touch of Gospel in the piano revealing a new influence that has been hinted at since the first song. If this album -and this song in particular- doesn’t make you glad to be alive then baby, you’re already dead!
The world won’t do it for you.
-by Curtis Ross
Nearly 18 months have elapsed since Jeremy Gloff’s last album (that’s two decades in Steely Dan years). Never fear, though. Tampa’s boy-about-town is back with tales of love and lust, this time with hip-hop and electronic backing. Truthfully, though, most of these songs could be just as effective with acoustic-guitar backing, a testament to Gloff’s solid songwriting.