Collective Thought debuts with ‘Rise’ album

Socially-conscious and forward-thinking band Collective Thought of Austin, Texas has released their inaugural album since their formation in 2016! Concert-goers that have caught Collective Thought live around the southwest are fully aware that they not only entertain, but enlighten as they do, and now, the band has pressed music to prove it. Rise, a 10-track funky, dubby album, features profound lyrics, jazzy elements, rapping vocals, soft melodies, philosophical monologues and enough calls to action that you feel invigorated to make a difference just by tuning in. In summary, this album has it all.

From start to finish, “Rise” tells a tale of injustice versus liberation. 

From start to finish, Rise tells a tale of injustice versus liberation. Beginning with a nostalgic tambourine intro and a mighty lion’s roar, track one “Have Mercy” gets straight and to the point – although not necessarily perfect, we are still fortunate. We coexist in a greater design, so try to stay “spiritually impervious” and “give thanks to Jah” for the blessings you do possess. With almost a Toots and the Maytals vibe, track one descends into spoken word with “Revolution”, a song about the stressers in life that can dampen even the most worthy of Jah’s army. The song, complete with millitary drum roll, compares everyday citizens to marching entrymen. Society dictates status quo – you know, that beat that we’re all perpetually marching to. “Revolution” further brings to light the current state of affairs around the world, calling out the past efforts of Malcolm X versus the biblical punishment bestowed upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Which do you prefer? Lead singer Kelly Hafner’s vocal range gets more impressive as the song progresses, woven between further spoken word interjections. All in all, it’s time to free your “mind imprisonment” and think for yourself.

Sci-fi lovers will rejoice with “Stars”, when extraterrestrial meets jazz set to a hip hop beat. “Time and space are known to rearrange you,” sings Hafner, you’ve thus got to stay true to yourself. The only true constant in life is change. “Cymbalic” keeps the deep bass lines booming and “Mary Jane” is that classic ode to weed that burns in everyone’s heart. “I’ll be burnin’ as long as this world is turnin’,” raps Project and Stormshadow, as they cover all the benefits weed has to offer in a back and forth fashion. The quick lyrical delivery gives way to the band’s debut and self-titled single off the LP, a song about making the world a better place. “Rise” states “uplift the youth”, live free, save the planet, unify; it’s essentially “Get Up Stand Up”, only “rise up with the struggle” over heavy bass riffs. “Rain” is a nine-minute journey through nature and imperturbability. “When reality strikes, sometimes you lose focus”… you cannot be more free than in the midst of a rainstorm. After a collision of rap, reggae and modern jazz to render a sensual escape from the world, a dubby outro leads listeners out of the storm and into “You Can”, a track against violence. You can “put your gun away”, just don’t make me beg. Very Fugee, somewhat vehement. The album ends with “Over You (Feelings Change)”, a synthy song about a breakup, and “Wondering”, Collective Thought’s stab at a love song. Breakup to makeup – when one door closes, there’s always a window. 

Rise is now available on all digital outlets. For more information, visit

Purchase or stream Rise album:

Track listing:

  1. Have Mercy
  2. Revolution
  3. Stars
  4. Cymbalic
  5. Mary Jane
  6. Rise
  7. Rain
  8. You Can
  9. Over You (Feelings Change)
  10. Wondering

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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