Album Review // Jon Batiste // World Music Radio
Jon Batiste's follow-up to his Grammy Awarding-winning We Are misses the mark on its worldly concept. Continuing the community-driven message from his previous record, Batiste uses all his industry clout to enlist a globe-spanning list of collaborators to join him on this transcendental voyage. As the name suggests, the record is for the world: crossing national, cultural, and genre barriers to unify dividing lines. This effort is worthwhile yet wasted on some very bland pop-adjacent tracks.
In an attempt to blend cultures and genres, Batiste and company break every element down to its most simplistic variants. Many of the sounds he involves, like reggaeton or Afropop, have already seen success in the U.S. Top 40. Inherently, this record is more in line with America's view of world music than from an actual global perspective.
Even with this tainted worldview, there are some excellent cultural mixes throughout the hour runtime. A major highlight is "Worship" which transitions from organ-driven melodies into bombastic Latin-tinged electro-funk with ease. World Music Radio spreads itself to the lowest common denominator, losing sight of the cultural unity it aims to achieve.