Roughly one year after releasing one of his most commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums, Common is ready for a change of direction. The Chicago native has his eyes on a mid-July release for his eighth album, which is tentatively titled Invincible Summer. After an eight-song preview of the upcoming work by Common himself, Billboard magazine described the sound as "electro-tinged" and "techno-inspired."
"I created this music for the summer time, it's about feeling good," says Common. "This is the type of music I felt was missing from my body of work."
While Kanye West and the late J. Dilla have provided production for both Finding Forever and 2005's Be, Common says both the need for a fresh sound and a lack of access to West led to the change in direction. The Neptunes and longtime Outkast contributor Mr. DJ provide all of the backing beats to Invincible Summer.
"Kanye was focusing on his Glow in the Dark show, so he hasn't been able to make it to the studio to weigh in," Common adds. "But it worked out well, organically. The Neptunes and Mr. DJ came up with a fresh sound for me."
Cee-Lo, Santogold and Chester French, who have recently signed to The Neptunes' Star Trak label, are all featured on the upcoming work. Invincible Summer could signal a return to the sound Common adopted for his 2002 release Electric Circus. The album also featured production by The Neptunes, and its experimentation with Rock and Electronica drew mixed reactions from fans and critics.
Preliminary track listing for Invincible Summer:
"Universal Mind Control (U.M.C.)"
"Make My Day" feat. Cee-Lo
"What A World" feat. Chester French
"Runaway" feat. Santogold