Pigeon John celebrates the ordinary and the everyday in his music, glorying in simple pleasures and small moments of triumph. On the charming opening track of his winning new CD, John posits himself as just another member of a new "generation of just regular dudes," while on "Lost My Job Again," he breaks new ground by becoming the first rapper ever to compare himself to Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man role and a retarded character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. A standout of the L.A. Symphony collective, Pigeon John has gotten his songs onto compilations of Christian music, but like his Quannum compadre Lifesavas, he delivers his messages with a soft touch and lighthearted affability that never veer into proselytizing.
Sonically and lyrically, Pigeon John's initially breezy, ultimately thought-provoking Pigeon John And The Summertime Pool Party tilts heavily toward joyous, effortlessly melodic West Coast party music with a conscience, but it gradually darkens until John starts contemplating the end of the world, Jesus' return, and the inevitable death of his youth, with all that entails. That's the glory of Pool Party: It wrestles with the ills of the world, yet emerges with an infectious, well-earned sense of optimism and hope.
The haunting, bittersweet final track, "Growin' Old," reinvigorates the moribund back-in-the-day song by infusing it with a nagging sense of mortality. Pigeon John glories in sepia-toned memories of rap's golden age, while acknowledging that all those giddy moments spent falling in love with hip-hop belong to a past and a youth that can be fondly remembered, but never recaptured. Pigeon John goes out of his way to depict himself as an ordinary guy, but that doesn't make Pool Party any less extraordinary.