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Review: Aloe Blacc – Good Things (Stones Throw)

‘Good Things’ is a brilliantly balanced...

By Will Lavin on Thursday 12th May 2011 Photo by PR

Having originally started out as an emcee, Aloe Blacc’s genre career change seems to have done much more than work in his favour. With a catchy soul throwback that earns more and more airplay as each day passes – ‘I Need A Dollar’, the Orange County native has earned himself a spot alongside the likes of Amy Winehouse, Cee-Lo Green, and Raphael Saadiq in the unofficial re-introduction to soul collective. As an album, ‘Good Things’ is a brilliantly balanced offering that acts as a vintage trailblazer with the odd touch of hip-hop frosting.

Socially aware, it’s obvious from the lyrical content displayed throughout the LP that Aloe is very conscious when it comes to what he puts in his music. Inspired by field recordings of chain gang songs, as well as a few personal experiences, ‘I Need A Dollar’ is the catchiest record on the market, thanks mainly to the crisp classic production, which could be easily mistaken for an old school soul sample. Opening the album with it, there isn’t a better example of perfection as far as introductory records are concerned.

A passionate man, Aloe’s all around love for music, people, and a good woman is some what inspiring. Whilst the current state of the economy, and everything else that cripples the human enjoyment factor, is a thorn in many folks side, the man with the everlasting grin is able to unconventionally turn your frown upside down in a way not seen since the late great Barry White. Peep the mid-tempo gem ‘You Make Me Smile’, which thanks to its simplistic instrumental back drop, captivating Anthony Hamilton-esque delivery, and love sick lyrics is a gritty take on love that many can relate to. In the same vein, but slightly quicker, is the drum-driven ‘Loving You Is Killing Me’. Complete with a sophistication that seems effortless, there’s no way that as a listener you won’t fall in love with it.

In a way very much like ‘I Need A Dollar’ – minus becoming an accidental anthem to the recession, Aloe’s tales of struggle and hardships in America on the beautifully ugly ‘Life So Hard’ are raw, uncut, and fantastically deep and meaningful. With many of the tracks following the same themes – money, misfortune, love, struggles, women, feelings, and the occasional happy day, it’s fair to say that ‘Good Things’ is an album that inspires, navigates, and opens the eyes of those listening to situations that they may not usually be exposed to.

‘Good Things’ is hopefully just the beginning for Aloe Blacc as a soul artist. The prospect of a highly successful future is obvious and the album’s content is a nice change for popular music. With clothing going full circle and embracing its vintage roots it was only a matter of time before music followed suit. Good job Mr. Blacc!

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