Love that Soul Food
Dangerously close to depleting my A-list, which is okay; I’ll revert to Honorable Mentions dumps, hackneyed jazz reviews, artist overviews, or old records to fill the gap until I’ve gotten some more. I’ve maybe ten or so records stowed under ‘Possibles,’ many of which I’m sure will be A-level but don’t understand well enough yet to say anything moderately intelligible about them. On another note, I claimed I would eventually get around to issuing reviews of some high profile 2012 releases, though as time goes on this seems increasingly unlikely. I’m enjoying the dual Public Enemy releases so much I see no reason to go back and pay Nas another visit, at least not now. Unless a severe slump in quality releases appears, I’ll continue exploring 2013 albums.
SAM DEES – The Show Must Go On (Atlantic/Real Gone Music): Soul singer-songwriter who penned tunes for many performers and recorded for Chess and Atlantic here sees his 1975 solo debut reissued with six bonus tracks. Jarring opener, “Child of the Streets,” about a prostitute mother and sister, heroine addicted brother and street-scrounging father. Lest he be wrongly accused for apologizing for the squalor whites helped create in black urban America by not pointing fingers, Dees calls for racial solidarity to clean up trouble no one else is going to solve. Yet knowing the danger angry political rhetoric potentially rallies, he avoids it, instead relying on urban portraits and the bond of love—brotherly and romantic—to carry the weight of anti-drug “Signed Miss Heroin” or “What’s It Gonna Be.” Hence the final original extra cut, “Save the Love at Any Cost,” right before closing with the single edit of “Child of the Streets.” A MINUS
SOLANGE – True (Terrible EP): In which Solange Knowles reinvents herself for the now-obligatory EP, this self-professed non-hipster’s third album in a decade following a trend of increasingly shorter runtimes (73:18, 58:32, now 27:54), regressing label prestige (major-league Columbia, Geffen/Polydor, now Brooklyn-based Terrible), and alternating genres (soul/R&B, psychedelic R&B, now 80’s dance/electronica and R&B). Credit producer Dev Hynes for the adopted retro vibe, but also credit him for looking forward; decades-old influences rearing their heads do more than merely hark back to the 80’s, they incorporate actual rhythm and blues better than most contemporaries. So after a sporadic ten years it’s nice she’s found someone to channel her unfocused energy. “[Hipters’s] just a lazy way to describe someone who doesn’t define themselves in a narrow way,” she tells the Guardian. Quite the opposite, I’d say; the hipster’s so busy eliminating what she’s not that only so much is left. Besides, her label is co-owned by the guy from Grizzly Bear. A MINUS