It’s easy to be snarky when talking about Everlast. White dude starts out as a rapper. Has a hit. Then demands to be taken seriously as a pop-folk artist with a voice that kind of feels like it comes from the love child of Tom Waits and Patrick Stump. His latest, The Life Acoustic, for all its pure intentions, fuels those snark-filled flames as the singer revisits songs he likes to think are his catalog’s lost gems with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a few keyboard lines that pop up about as much as DJ Lethal does with Limp Bizkit these days.
The results are nothing if not predictable. “Black Jesus” and “Today”, for example, are identical mid-tempo twins genuinely hard to distinguish from one another. Things get a little bluesy with the upbeat “My Medicine” and the as-groovy-as-Everlast-can-get “Sad Girl”, right as a punk-paced “Stone In My Hand” reminds you that the track number actually did change a few times. Not even a retooled “Jump Around?” (this time with a question mark!) or a weirdly placed Bill Withers cover, “Grandma’s Hand” (this time without an “S”!) can really help mix up the second-rate frat-party vibe here. There’s nothing terribly offensive, though nothing absolutely imperative, either, more or less confirming what we already knew: Whitey Ford’s blues sure could still use some color every now and then.