Coming Home

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Singer/songwriter Brooke's debut album, Coming Home, is a fusion of his influences from hip-hop, to pop, to classic rock, to folk. But rather than add subtle elements of one genre to another, Brooke attempts to combine elements of each within one song. Take "I Still Remember," a song with rapped verses, a pop/rock refrain, and a heavy metal bridge -- it's all too much. Nor does he have much more success combining the lyrical strengths of those disparate genres. There is neither the blistering rawness of rap or the sensitivity of the singer/songwriter. Instead, the words fall into a tedious middle ground. It's not enough to refer to what are clearly emotional situations, whether they are happy or sad; the power of lyrics lies in their capacity for illuminating those emotions and situations. The possibilities for nostalgic reflections of a rag-tag youth are dampened on "I Still Remember" by lyrics like, "I gotta thank God that I'm still alive/I met a black girl and got funkdafied." But elsewhere, Brooke displays a knack for hooks and melodies, like on the opener, "Here I Go" -- its hip-hop inspired bridge does not distract, but ups the ante on the song's groove. Still, it's too often that Coming Home gets lost in its hodgepodge of sounds and styles.

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