Good Things

Studio Album by released in 2010
Good Things's tracklist:
I Need a Dollar
Green Lights
Hey Brother
Miss Fortune
Life So Hard
Take Me Back
Femme Fatale
Loving You Is Killing Me
Good Things
You Make Me Smile
If I
Mama Hold My Hand
Politician (reprise)

Good Things review

Aloe Blacc’s hard work is an example for imitation

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins known to the world as the soul singer, rapper and musician Aloe Blacc, stands in one row with such contemporary soul and neo-soul stars as John Legend, Cee-Lo Green, Madcon and others. His songs are simple and unobtrusive, but practically all of them can be remembered from the very first listening like those of Jason Mraz, his voice timbre is a bit deaf like that of John Legend, and the dances refining his video and live performances never fail to admire. Aloe Blacc started his music career in 1995 as one part of the rap duo Emanon (the other part being producer Exile), when Blacc was only sixteen. The artist pursued a solo career eight years later, and today his discography consists of his debut EP, part of songs from which later appeared on the 2006’s record Shine Through, and his latest work Good Things. This remarkable album is ready to color brightly the new summer: songs about love, friendship, mutual help and life trifles are filled with Aloe Blacc’s irresistible energy. One should also note that he writes the lyrics himself, and it is often possible to find quite intelligent and mature thoughts and observations in them, and rhythms can be rather unexpected and witty. The artist’s hard work is an example for imitation – this year the duo Emanon releases its ninth album with Blacc having taken the most active part in it.

Bright emotions and optimism on Good Things

The opening song I Need A Dollar, the album’s first single, is featured in the opening titles of the popular How To Make It In America series, it has quickly become a hit in Europe and the USA due to its memorable chorus (the song’s title is repeated so many times on it that it would probably be hard to remember it only in case you are deaf) and a touching story of the main character finding himself in a difficult situation. The second single, Loving You Is Killing Me, has resulted to be absolutely different. This time Aloe is demonstrating his song-writing skills, finding a lot of variants of how a girl can treat her boyfriend badly humiliating and hurting him in every way. The contagious tune makes one smile, and the video in which the singer is dancing with a little boy underlines the song’s being unserious to a greater extent proving that it rather serves to distract from dark thoughts than to complain. Miss Fortune is one of the most vivid moments on the record pleasing with a very expressive tune with a slight reggae feel to it and simple lyrics not devoid of sense of humor, whereas Green Lights is easily the most optimistic number on the album. We can hear Blacc’s nice falsetto on a complicated soul-composition Life So Hard sounding against weeping winds, sadly-drawling guitars and very appropriate backing vocals. There is also an inspiring cover on the album, Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale, a faultless soul-blues number with a seductive atmosphere. The title track is also filled with optimism and happiness caused by everything good that surrounds us in life, and the song You Make Me Smile is one of the warmest love and friendship confessions you have ever heard. Perhaps the most beautiful composition on the album is If I, a real soul love anthem bordering with gospel and able to make cry any girl in love, yet not as much as the following Mama Hold My Hand, the most touching song Aloe has ever performed.

Classic soul elements along with one’s own zest

Every time a contemporary soul album is released the genre fans are mostly going to compare the artist to such genre’s law-makers as Marvin Gay and Sam Cooke in advance. At the same time it is clear to everyone that today it is as topical and fashionable as ever not to stick to strict stylistic frames combining shades of various styles and directions in one’s music. In this respect Aloe Blacc’s works offer some 1970s’ classic soul elements along with his own zest – a bit of rap, a bit of neo-soul and R&B. Although this definitely charismatic performer’s voice has its known limits, it manages to fill each song on the new album Good Things with the most vivid emotions once again, especially the happy and joyful mood. Perhaps his debut studio album Shine Through was a little more varied and original, and the musician has stepped into a somewhat saver and at moments even template territory – tubes, falsetto, love lyrics – on the whole the record is impressive and very soulful. Besides rare exceptions, such as the very personal and vulnerable number Mama Hold My Hand, the album can serve to create light and relaxed atmosphere at the beginning of any party. Hopefully Aloe Blacc is not about to stop here and will continue to expand his abilities as the original, joyful and bright solo artist.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (16.06.2011)
Rate review4.92
Total votes - 1262

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