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What Were You Hoping For?

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Editors’ Notes

Fans searching for more of the sensual R&B of Van Hunt’s past work (two albums on Capitol, a handful of EPs) may be more than surprised to stumble on the talented auteur in the “rock” section of iTunes. While it may take some time to warm to his transformation into a funk-rock artist, give it a chance—the payoff is huge. What Were You Hoping For? opens with the Beck-ish track “North Hollywood,” which snakes and slithers until it hits a bump and swoops skyward for a moment with car-crash snare drums and metallic guitars. Before you have time to scratch your head, “Watching You Go Crazy” kicks in without warning, a thrashed drum kit battling it out with a layer of scratchy, distorted guitars while Hunt’s sultry voice raises to the requisite rock howl. There are plenty of hard/soft dynamics, often within songs (as there are on “Watching You”) and certainly between them. This Van Hunt has Curtis Mayfield’s soul, Lenny Kravitz’s rock ’n’ roll heart, and Rick James’ funk in his blood—and he ties it together with a royal purple thread (for you younger folks, that's a reference to Prince).

Customer Reviews


Van Hunt is not "the bomb". In fact, he is " A bomb".

He's been ticking and counting down for this moment for quite a time now. Even when playing nice and fulfilling the duties of song writer and "newcomer" to the scene, he didn't quite color within the lines. Now, after the mess with EMI and Blue Note etc., Hunt's "What Were You Hoping For?" explodes over us like some sort of aggressive neon flower; replete with a combination of intoxicatingly fragrant and fast hurtling petals, stems and even a few thorns. I've always had to wonder with Hunt if his music was really as good as I was experiencing it to be or was I merely being hopeful and perhaps hyped. But now, along with Hunt, it's made clear: We are those Wild Things able to throw fits on the piano with balled fists, go nuts on the effects, loopy on harmonies and progressions as well as move into subdued and contemplative spaces with light speed sincerity. All while managing to keep it funkDEfied!

Hunt seems to be developing his "Sybil" sides with those many personalities (ala Tom Waits) that make us up. He plays lover and fighter (often in the same piece), moody balladeer, DJ, punk rock star, and all of it makes sense. I'd like to say that the music comes off naturally falling from him and onto us, but rather it seems to be yet another of his well crafted masterpieces (Here I may be reaching.) Whatever the case, tunes like "Plum", "Eyes Like Pearls", "Moving Targets" and the title track have me hitting REPEAT over and over. The rest of the album ushers us through scenes from some fantastic cityscape that makes my eyes and ears bulge at their mention.

it's great to have Van Hunt back and watch and listen to him BLOW UP! We can't help but to fall as Thelonius Monk-like shrapnel imbeds itself into our skin and ears. It's inescapable. Palpable. Powerful. Explosive!

Uncompromising Brilliance!!

With one listen to WWYHF, it's clear that Van Hunt has no interest in repeating himself. Its is also clear that he has accepted the responsibility of carrying the tourch for modern day funk! If you need you hook within 30 seconds this is probably not the best listen for you. However, if you have a little patience and allow songs like Plum to unfold, Van's brilliance shines! Plum in particular is an addictive track with textured layers of guitar that serve as a backdrop for a twisted tale of lustful adoration. Van's lyrics paint vivid pictures and tackle topics typically untouched (i.e. Cross Dresser). Eyes Like Pearl stands out as an instant classic. It's a Mysterious Hustle and Moving target are also "hilights." Rock and Roll is about taking chances and there is nothing usual about this album, which makes for an exciting listen!

Welcome back Van Hunt!

I must say that this album does not disappoint. This album is a much needed fix, especially since I was in need of another Van Hunt album. I am glad that this album is like a fresh breath of air, and that it doesn't sound the same as the previous albums (Not saying that they weren't good, cause clearly they were EXCELLENT.) and that you wanted to give us something new. Please check out the track "Plum". It is a very good song that has a lot of dimensions. Also "Moving Targets" is an absolute must hear. Van Hunt, you done did it again. I can't wait to watch you live! Enjoy the album everyone.


Born: March 8, 1977 in Dayton, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

R&B multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt, born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, grew up surrounded by the pimp lifestyle of his father. A soundtrack of classic soul and contemporary R&B was his backdrop and Hunt immersed himself in the tones and moods of it all. A move from the Midwest to Atlanta in his early twenties allowed Hunt to hone his sound. He'd been playing guitar and writing songs since his teens, so naturally a career in music was on the horizon. Capitol inked him a deal in 2003 and his self-titled...
Full Bio