Illustration for article titled Gimmick or Gold: Sharon Jones  The Dap Kings

Preface: With "Gimmick or Gold?" I'd like to create a series of posts in which I examine the worth of certain artists and bands to the musical landscape. All of this is in terms of whether or not they're actually creating music for good, or to simply make music for music's sake.


Today we review: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

On Tuesday, Sharon Jones and her backing band, The Dap Kings, released their fifth studio album, Give the People What They Want. I find that title to be somewhat ironic, being as the band has a relatively small following (all things considered in today's oversaturated music industry) and a pretty niche market sound-wise.


With the new album comes a question, at least from me: Do Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings really make that great of music?

Here's why I ask:

When you look at the range of music there is to choose from nowadays, is there anything truly unique about the band, besides their ability to make music that sounded good 40 years ago sound good now? I, personally, am a massive fan of funk, soul and R&B music from the 60s and 70s, but can't quite get my ear behind this band. By no means are they a bad listen, in fact they make for some good background noise (in the fondest of meanings) when the situation calls for such a thing. Yet, I don't find them to be any different from [/insert name of random 60s funk/soul band here].


The sound they produce is fresh by today's standards. It's eclectic enough for even the hardest-nosed uber-fans of any genre to tap their feet to, but stale in their range of sound from album to album. This makes me believe that they rely on their novelty to sell, rather than polishing their chops with every release.

This all may seem a tad harsh, but I don't hear what some critics hold in such high regard about this band. While I do believe the music is good, it doesn't do anything different. I'm not asking Sharon Jones to adopt a radically different sound, nor do I think that would be a wise career move, I just need a shift in gear.


With all that said, I guess I would qualify Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings as gimmick. The sound is great and all, but their niche is what carries them.

Also, here's a song: Retreat! by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

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