The Ecleftic - 2 Sides Ii A Book

Wyclef Jean

Columbia Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Pras, Lauryn Hill and Wyclef: Will they ever get back together? Well, the second track on Wyclef Jean's new album, The Ecleftic - 2 Sides II A Book, makes sure to get the point across that he is definitely interested doing another album.

But Wyclef isn't about to burrow down in the studio and take on the producer. He has his own hell to raise. And on The Ecleftic Wyclef raises hell by bringing in some of the oddest guest vocals ever to appear on a pop record.

Some guests work. "Runaway," which features Earth, Wind and Fire, melds their smooth 70s era soul style to Wyclef's more gritty delivery. And "Diallo" is a scathing indictment of the New York Police Department. The choice of Youssou N'Dour as a guest vocalist is perfect. Wyclef has always incorporated world music into his recordings, and Youssou N'Dour is one of the most recognizable world vocalists.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

WWF wrestler The Rock's appearance in "It Doesn't Matter" is as much of a stunt as the wrestler's appearance at the Republican National Convention. And Kenny Rogers singing, using the word "turntable" in replace of "table" in a revisit to his "Gambler" theme is a huge misfire. Naming a song "Kenny Rogers-Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate" should have given Wyclef a warning that putting Rogers on his album would be more of a novelty and less of a musical inspiration.

In case the title of the album didn't give away Wyclef's intentions, he tries to make The Ecleftic his most varied mix yet. And he definitely succeeds. "Low Income" and "Pullin' Me In" are great head-bobbing tracks and "911" is a great song about the pitfalls of a relationship.

However, for all its musical accomplishments, many tracks on The Ecleftic lack a certain warmth and focus that made Wyclef's last album The Carnival a great album on par with his bandmate's The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill CD in terms of overall quality.

A big problem is length. At 70 minutes-plus, The Ecleftic overstays its welcome. "Diallo" would have been a great emotional closer of the album, but instead, it makes the last three songs seem like the last five miles of a marathon.

Wyclef certainly is one of the most gifted musicians in rap, R&B, rock, anything out there right now. But, heyah, Rush is one of the most gifted musical groups in rock. And like Rush, Wyclef has a problem translating musical gifts to incorporate feelings as well. Listeners can marvel at incorporating WWF and country superstars on an album and say, "Wow, look what he can do." Ultimately though, Wyclef should have aimed his focus on answering the question that may be on other listeners minds: "Why should we care?"

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


I can't stand him!

© 2000 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.