Carson Daly prefaced Citizen Cope's network TV debut with some blubbering comparisons to Bob Dylan and John Lennon, which Cope obliterated by performing a first-rate single ("Bullet and a Target") that sounded like neither.
Clearly the new Dylan/Lennon analogy has more to do with the engineer's cap Cope sports on the cover of his second album, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, than with anything inherent in his voice or approach, but if Daly had crowned Cope "the new Everlast" or a "hip-hop Bill Withers," people might've just toddled off to bed. The appeal of Cope, former keyboardist and DJ for Basehead, is the way he combines his folkie beatnik poetry with hypnotic, repetitive R&B grooves, sort of like Lauryn Hill's debut. Cope has achieved industry notoriety for buying out his Dreamworks contract so that he could record for the same label as Whitney Houston. The difference in corporate approaches is negligible, save for Arista editing out the word "fuck" on the single and inviting Carlos Santana to solo on three cuts, including the majestic "Son's Gonna Rise." And this time, Cope's work is packaged like a Jimmie Rodgers archival recording instead of a samurai hobo's.