LEN's 1999 hit "Steal My Sunshine" was an absolute jam. Its Andrea True Connection break and bassline bump meshed seamlessly to Sharon Costanzo's exuberant vocal, and like the best summer songs its lyrical agenda involved little more than getting stupid and lying in the grass. Unfortunately the boozing, partying smash-up that followed LEN's breakthrough killed the combo's momentum dead, and "Sunshine" was relegated to '90s rock compilations. LEN's principals (Costanzo and her producer/vocalist brother, Marc) holed up in a studio, but the sessions stalled out. Still, what was recorded has surfaced in 2005 as Diary of the Madmen, a collection of tracks recorded between 2001 and 2004. Nothing matches the strength of "Sunshine," but overall it's a much more dynamic set than You Can't Stop the Bum Rush. The music is stronger throughout, like in the backgrounds of "Fight," "Get Down," and "People (Come Together)." (The latter samples A Tribe Called Quest and the 1968 Friend Lover hit "Reach out of the Darkness.") And while LEN's lyrics don't usually progress much past the song titles as emphatics, their sentiments are certainly genuine. "I'm just freaking out 'cause I'm thinking too much," Sharon sings over the pretty strings and softly brushed percussion of "Let It Slide," and repeat collaborator Biz Markie makes a cameo, too. Other standouts: LEN remakes New Edition's "Cool It Now" as fluttery, Off the Wall-style disco, complete with strings, brass, and wah-wah guitar, and "Dante's Inferno" is a slowly bobbing instrumental that approaches acid jazz. There's some throwaway material on Diary of the Madmen, but for drawing from three years of sessions it's remarkably cohesive. It took them awhile, but LEN's sequel to "Sunshine" deserves a listen. [The album was reissued in 2007 minus their cover of "Video Killed the Radio Star" and with the addition of two previously unreleased tracks: "Red Hot Day" and "Rubble".] Johnny Loftus, Rovi
- Rap, Rock
- Hip-Hop/Urban, Dance
- Alternative Rap, Alternative Dance
- Explicit Lyrics
- September 11, 2007
special offers and deals.
free standard shipping with $50 purchase, offer details.
- Made in the USA or Imported