Pop songs are supposed to be simple. Sex, too. Neither ever really is. Few artists make this as abundantly clear as Van Hunt. His songs work your brain and your backside with equal vigor, spot-welding sophisticated melodies to an insistent groove and piling on lyrics that are as much about the consequences of intimacy and desire as celebrating bedroom action. Funky, sexy music isn’t supposed to be this challenging; it’s a lark, a diversion. Van Hunt’s Popular is that, and more.
Popular is Van Hunt’s most assured work yet, cutting the apron strings tethering him to his primary influences of Prince and Sly Stone. This isn’t to say that you won’t find elements of both artists – you still love your mother even after you leave home, after all. The difference is that he advances the sexy assemblage of funk, rock, soul and all styles in between that he established with his first two discs, Van Hunt and On The Jungle Floor; it feels more like something he owns.