After 20 years together, the Baha Men hit the jackpot in 2000 with "Who Let the Dogs Out." Success, however, comes at a price; in the case of their follow-up album, it's the apparent voluntary imprisonment of the band in the cage of party music. Every up-tempo track on Move It Like This projects an almost desperate urgency to get people onto the dancefloor ASAP. On the rare ballad the band embraces a showy approach, filled with long, open harmonies that induce visions of performers spreading their arms wide, closing their eyes, leaning their heads back, and sliding up to soulful high notes. In fact, several layers of nostalgia blanket the entire album, from diluted tropical references in the rhythm tracks -- the percussive equivalent of umbrellas in fruity drinks -- to post-doo wop affectations. (The only really modern twist here is that annoying production gimmick heard way too often on contemporary R&B releases where the lead singer's voice flip-flops between notes with no natural glissando; unfortunately, the Baha Men seem enamored of this digital hiccup.) There is, of course, nothing wrong with being entertained, or with making listeners want to get up and dance. But there may be cause for thought when a talented act dedicates themselves to doing nothing that distracts from this mission -- no really expressive or subtle vocals, no deviation from the relentlessly cheerful instrumental tracks, no material that might make audiences sit down for a few seconds and actually listen. This, in all its positives and negatives, is what Move It Like This is all about. "What part of 'party' don't you understand?," they demand on "Giddyup." By the time you get through even half of this album, you will understand it all.
Move It Like This Review
by Robert L. Doerschuk