Despite the decibels and aggro-angst, the only thing separating Farrell's Lollapalooza ideals from a love-in was an overt spiritual element. Having embraced Jewish mysticism several years ago, though, he wears his hippie heart on his sleeve, and he does so, in his solo debut and first full new album since Porno for Pyros' underappreciated "God's Urge," with grace, passion and a winningly wide-eyed call for global redemption through love and music.
At the core is the celebration of Jubilee, a commitment to renewal and forgiveness that Farrell honors with "Happy Birthday Jubilee," versions of which open and close the collection. It's the perfect frame with its unbridled innocence (the good kind) and wonder and gentle-spirited electronic pop.
In between, from the dreamy title track through the edgier "Did You Forget," through various souffles of dub, Middle Eastern tones and electronic dance beats, he finds a balance between the out-there and the down-to-earth. Guests including Farrell's Jane's Addiction mates Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins and Martyn LeNoble add recognizable accents, but at the center is always Farrell's distinctive singing (richly layered and more melodic than ever) and joyous spirit. Some may find it cloyingly naive, but "Songs" realizes ideals that Farrell has embodied for years.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.