Thursday, September 30, 2010
REVIEW: Aloe Blacc's Good Things
On his debut album, Aloe Blacc officially trades in his MC mean mug for a soulful red bow tie. With deft song-writing that only ripens with the indie star’s coal-simmering vocals, Good Things is an assemblage of groovy life lessons, the kind that only a poet can pass down. On “Miss Fortune”, a funky allegory that warns about the fickleness of wealth, Aloe sings, “I met a girl by the name of ‘Miss Fortune’, daddy was a very rich man/ He told me, ‘Son, proceed with caution, if you wanna take my little girl’s hand’.” It’s the same cool storytelling that made his first single “I Need a Dollar” (also the theme song for HBO’s How to Make It In America) a hit.
Though Bill Withers may be the most obvious ghost loitering on the record, Blacc blooms into a style all his own. Whether it’s his tone (“Loving You is Killing Me”) or downright cynicism (“Hey Brother”), the young singer does not just borrow the Classic R&B formula, but updates it. The album’s title track is full big twangy guitars straight out of 1970’s Soul Train episode, but on it Aloe creatively addresses his mystery woman by four different titles. It’s been over seven years since Aloe made the decision to do more singing than rapping, but very fortunately on this LP, the MC pen has infiltrated the R&B tune.