Tuesday, March 30, 2010
My Totally Biased Review of New Amerykah Part Two
I was at Target at 8:30 in the morn gettin my copy of Erykah Badu's new release. I'm sure I looked every bit of Badu's demographic with my lack of hair, lack of perm, lack of weave, tye-dyed leggings, and ability to read above a 6th grade level. The hoodrats and scallywags were there too, using their EBT cards to buy that Raymond vs. Raymond. Hey, different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
Anywho, I just want to start out by saying that I love Erykah. She is easily one of my most favorite people, of people that I don't know. Musically, she can really do no wrong in my eyes. Even if I don't love what she did in a song or on an album, I can always appreciate it and rarely (if ever at all) do I ever think anything she does is wack. She could release an entire album of only dolphin sounds, and I would still be like, "That was sorta fresh, yo." Yes, I would end the sentence with, "yo". Shut up.
I approached my initial listening with great expectation and excitement. I have listened to the entire album (including the demonic chanting) about five times today. And contrary to what I thought would happen when I first peeled off the wrapper and put the disk in the player, in real life, in this moment, I am generally underwhelmed. [INSERT SIGH HERE]I don't hate it... But I can't say that it improved the quality of my life.
It reminds me a lot of Worldwide Underground, which I like and respect, but didn't obsess over. With the exception of Bump It and Danger, I found myself not caring much. It's the same feeling I get with this album. It's cool. It's something to listen to. It makes great background music and you could probably have a really enlightening conversation while it's playing, but nothing ever really happens sonically or lyrically that will make you stop what you're doing and lose your mind. I wouldn't at all compare it to New Amerykah Part One (which I went into convulsions over and still twitch noticeably at the mere thought and/or mention of). However, though I wouldn't compare it in terms of depth and complexity, it does have leanings, style wise toward Part One, which sort of makes it all seem cohesive. It sort of gives me the impression that some of these songs may have been conceptualized or recorded for or around the time Erykah was making Part One, but they didn't make it onto that album. Therefore, the overall effect is a watered down, less interesting version of the first installment.
On a positive note, the artwork is funky fresh and there are some catchy melodies that you might find yourself humming around the house. One of the most infectious choruses is on the song Gone Baby, Don't Belong, which was produced by Taraach, who I want to say congrats to. You go, boy! Another highlight is Fall in Love (Your Funeral), which I wasn't surprised to see was produced by Karriem Riggins, who you may remember produced Soldier (which was the certified biz) off the last album and who's drumming I'm infatuated with in real life. Yay, Karriem!
Mama's Gun lovers [INSERT RAISED HAND HERE] will be either really happy or seriously irked with what seems to be the second installment of Green Eyes, entitled Out of My Mind, Just in Time. Similar to Green Eyes, Out of My Mind, Just in Time is at the end of the album, pushes the counter past 10 minutes, and plays out in three movements. It gives me happy feelings that Erykah went there once more, but honestly, it pales in comparison to Green Eyes, which pretty much anyone with working ears has classified as brilliant, beautiful, necessary, and dare I say, classic. It's worth listening to, though, and in my opinion takes the entire album from "alright" to "good".
Surprisingly, my favorite song is Window Seat, which is a complete shocker, cause I usually don't give a hot damn about singles. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that every time I hear it, I see Erykah's booty moving through my mind in slow motion. Or maybe it's 'cause it's actually a good song. Whatever the reason, the fact that my favorite song off of the album is a single is probably saying something bad... Real bad... Michael Jackson [INSERT DISAPPOINTED FACE HERE]. And while I'm making faces, I just want to say that I'm tired of Erykah trying to infest my house with evil spirits with all that demonic chanting that she's been putting on her albums lately. I rebuke it in the mighty name of Jesus.
This is getting long, so thus concludes my totally biased review of New Amerykah Part Two. Overall it is a solid album and definitely worth having, especially for Badu fans. Support, Support, SUPPORT good, interesting music from good, interesting artists. Pay money! Pay attention!
...Pay my phone bill. [INSERT GIGGLE HERE]