August 26, 2011

Review: Aloe Blacc - "Good things" (2010)

In this post I’d like to write my first review! A little while ago I listened to the album “Good things” released in 2010 as the second album of soul artist Aloe Blacc. He was born in Panama and his real name is E. Nathaniel Dawkins. He learned to play the trumpet, the guitar and the piano and after a few years working in the corporate world he decided to get into music, the field he really loved. I discovered him while watching a Belgium show about entertainment on TV. It was about a show Aloe Blacc did in Belgium and after that I downloaded his album. Want to know what I think about it?

My first impression was, that the album sounds very much like an old soul record – Blacc’s voice reminds me of Bill Withers, who I really like! It also seems a bit old-fashioned on the surface, but if you listen more intently you’ll also hear some fairly modern influences, like a synthesizer. This all kinda reminds me off the revivals that have been happening the last few years. What’s that now? I’m talkin’ about some other artists I know that have been trying to revive soul music, like Janelle Monáe and John Legend (however, the revivals aren’t limited to soulmusic, but I won’t bore you with that now) Although it all reminds me off old soul, it also lacks a bit of that soul in my opinion. What I miss are the nice harmonies that are featured in the music of – for example – the artists from Motown.

Now back to the album as a individual piece. At first I thought: this is pretty good. The album starts with the song I need a dollar, which has been a single and actually is one of my favourite songs on the album. It’s a nice song altogether. When I listened to the other songs, after about four of them I started realizing that it’s a lot of the same! There’s not much variation between the songs.
Besides that, there’s also very little variation within the songs, causing me to get bored of them pretty quick. Another thing I want to mention is that the lyrics aren’t so very particular too. I tend to listen to lyrics when I hear something new, and if they’re nice lyrics, I can overlook a bit of boredom. However with this album, the lyrics are a bit boring too.
Briefly you can say that I think that the 13 songs on “Good things” are alright, but a bit boring, which results in me using the same adjective for the whole album. Besides this though, there are a few songs that are an exception to this rule. At first: I need a dollar and Hey brother. These two songs are both nice songs, which don’t get annoying at the end. Secondly there’s Miss fortune, the only song in which the lyrics really stood out and are fairly interesting. The last song I want to bring to mind is Momma hold my hand. This is one of the few ballads on this record and has made the biggest impact on me.

To sum up: It’s a nice album, made by an artist with a very good voice that has made it his duty to revive soul music – so it seems – but the album and most of the songs are a bit boring. There’s little variation and nothing that really stands out to me. Most of them start of great, but end the same as they start. However there are also a few songs that I do like quite a bit.

In my opinion “Good things” by Aloe Blacc isn’t very exciting, but I wouldn’t go as far as to advise against listening to it. This all depends on my personal view of music, and is based on my particular musical background. So I would ask you to listen to the album and form your own opinion. 

And let me know what you think about it if you've listened to it!