Friday, October 28, 2011

Album Factoids

Head to the Sky

Released: May 1973
Genre: Funk
Label: Columbia
Producer: Joseph Wissert

unfortunately, the only picture with Jessica Cleaves in the album cover... had to switch it up.

Week 56: Earth, Wind & Fire

Now, of course I am very familiar with Earth, Wind & Fire (and I would hope that those of you reading this are as well), but I am completely unfamiliar with their early stuff when they had female vocalist (first Sherry Scott, who was replaced by Jessica Cleaves on this album).  I feel like that's going to add a whole new element to the sound.  The only album I've listened to fully is That's The Way of the World, so I'm excited to add another to my repertoire.

This Weeks Album...

mmmm, funk.

So, to add on to Bilal...

He did a workshop at Berklee today, which was incredible, and I had the chance to go on stage and sing with him.  Super crazy.  He's incredible, it was such an honor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Final Grade: A-

Bilal is the fucking man.  I haven't heard any recent artist with harmonies like his in a minute - that's a problem - but man, oh man am I glad he's doin them.  He has such unique vocal lines and melodies - it's so nice to hear that vocal creativity hasn't been lost.  Really interesting grooves all around, with some serious gems thrown in ("White Turns to Gray" has been on repeat like no other).  Definitely a good album to have when you're just relaxing around the house, doin your business and whatnot.  Wish I didn't have to miss out on his show tomorrow, but at least I got to see him last week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sorrow Tears and Blood

Sweet Sour You

Songs of The Day

Sorrow Tears and Blood:  This is a pretty cool tune, and definitely different from the ones preceding it.  I dig the feel of the intro, it makes me feel like I'm inside the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.  There's a great "world music" sound to this - lots of different mixtures of latin, tribal - I dig it.  Oh hey, Common!  Diggin the spoken word he's putting down.  I can get down with the mellow groove that the song eventually gets into, but I dig the initial groove better - I'm glad it turns back around.  Solid vocals, but no surprise there.  Everything about this tune is much more relaxed than the majority on the rest of the album.  Like I said, pretty cool tune.

Sweet Sour You:  Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about this song being the closer.  It's an interesting track, the instrumentation and harmonies are very unique, but I was wondering how strong this track was as the ending point.  The B section groove is so on point though, it made me change my mind.  The groove is super steady, which is always good.  Love the "oo oo's" at the end.  I dig it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hands of Time


White Turns To Gray


Songs of The Day

Hands Of Time:  Steady, steady groove on this one.  It really is all about being in the pocket, and these cats definitely got it right.  The opening vocal harmonies on this are so phat, I really do not understand why that sequence isn't sung again.  Regardless, the vocal harmonies are great throughout, and it's nice to hear more complex, interesting harmonies in modern music.  Groove breakdown/deconstruction section is cool - interesting to hear it so bare.  Dig it.

Hollywood:  This is my first somewhat questionable tune on the album, but I think that it's just going to take a few listens to get used to.  I definitely dig the synth, out-there beat that's going on (a nice switch up from previous tunes), and the harmonies are kind of insane, but I think their insanity is part of the problem.  The harmonies are so full and out there, but the beat is already so strange that together, it's tiny bit too strange.  I actually dig it a lot, it's just all a little difficult to jump into - you gotta ease.

White Turns To Gray:  Damn, is this one sexy song.  My first note just says "ugh." Yes,  precisely that.  That is much thanks to the bass holding it the fuck down.  The first vocal line gives me a stank face.  Scratch that, this whole song is giving me stank face.  I almost don't want to give anything away.  Listen to it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Make Me Over

Get Out Of My Hair

Lord Don't Let It

All For Love

Songs of The Day

Make Me Over:  This is one solid groove.  Dig pretty much everything about it.  And Bilal's vocals are just so smooth on top of everything - so suave.  Love the minimal number of harmonies, but I love how crazy they are - so great.  The short chords on the piano are super sweet.  There's just a great weight to all the instrumentation, and I dig it hard.  Great build to the end.  Guitar riff/drum solo ending is awesome.  Yup.

Get Out Of My Hair:  The intro to this is interesting...pretty funny actually.  I won't ruin it for you.  This is another heavy groove, and I definitely dig it.  Love that the guitar riff is the melody in the chorus - when they meet, it gives a great fullness to the melody.  I love the layers in the vocals, they're very cool and add a cool dimension to the groove.  The hook lyric "just get out my fro" - so funky.  This is pretty stanky.

Lord Don't Let It:  I think the A section to this tune is so beautiful.  I love all of the instrumentation, and the vocal harmonies are on point.  I do like the B section, but not with the A section.  I like it by itself, but then when it returns to the A section, I remember that I liked that section so much more.  On the fence about this one.  The freak out section at the end of this is the shit though.

All For Love:  This is a pretty solid soul groove.  I dig the super up feel it's got - it's a nice swing.  That's probably much thanks to the heaviness of the piano.  Great vocals, but no surprise there.  Just an overall solid tune that doesn't need much explanation.