Friday, March 23, 2007
Indulging in mind-bending soul has been a pet fetish for the kid for a while, okay, forever. And the worst thing about being stateside is that it's so much harder to feed thyself on audio art that exists on the fringes, or isn't of Yankee origin because if it's not on corporate Radio or TV, it might as well not be made, because you will hear it nada. Which is why it saddens me that I've been late to this party. I'm usually early to the hanyee...I'm getting sloppy...damn.
When it comes to soul the Brits have always been unafraid of putting together work that would make any 'normal' american record executives throw themselves out of a 5th Avenue office perched on the 26th floor. That Brit-Soul has, time after time, taken chances is an understatement. In my mind, Neo-Soul's daddy is none other that funky, avant-garde Northern English heathen, Acid Jazz; the bastard child of soul that refused to play it safe, that embraced Disco and Jazz and took them to another place. It could never have been born on US terra firma. It would have been forced to meet quarterly sales quotas and sell toys to suburban 12 year olds. Before the world embraced D'Angelo there was the Brand New Heavies. Simple.
In that vein of taking soul music to a different place cometh a white brunette who effortlessly channels the 60's refreshingly, fleshing out tunes that feel like you're tooling in a 1967 Renault listening to your AM radio with your gashungwa cozily underarm, until you realize you're solo and Downtown bound on the 8:36 shuttle, Ipod earbuds thumping.
Wakey wakey dreamer, you're quite adrift from Motown, or 1967, for that matter, but what's cooking doesn't sound dated. And it's far from the latest edition of shrink-wrap-shipped packages of cookie cutter dry hump love tune jesters meant to deter supplicants from realizing what they're missing. Baby girl's heart sounds like it lives on her sleeve on tracks like, Rehab, the break up ditty Back to Black, Wake up Alone, Tears Dry on Their Own and Me and Mr. Jones (fuckery). Who's been doing this woman dirty?
And it turns out her management at the time really tried to make her go to Rehab but she said 'no, no, no.' One of the best songs that will be heard this year, whether radio plays it or not.
Well some folks have been dying for a Lauryn Hill revival, but who knew the next chapter in The Miseducation of soul music would come from North London.The album Back To Black has finally hit US shores (UK got their fix last October). DJ Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi did their thing.
Amy Winehouse is her name.
Also, brand new music can be heard from Brit-girls Joss Stone and Lily Allen.