So I have picked up my first couple of releases of the new year (one today and the other a few weeks ago) and it's been all about the ladies with the new one from Cat Power and Erykah Badu.
This probably shoudln't be surprising to me, but as I peruse my music collections, the boys do have the overwhelming edge and I don't think these two will make a dent in that lead.
Jukebox brings to mind a kind of a 60s Memphis/roadhouse easygoing feel especially the opening take on New York. Clearly this is due in no small part to her backing band n the album which is also her touring band-The Dirty Delta Blues Band. You can practically smell the cigarette smoke in the air on Ramblin' (Wo)man and original Metal Heart just slays me everytime I hear it.
Now I will say that I am a Johnny-come-lately to Miss Marshall's music with The Greatest being the first album I owned but I do think it is impossible to not say that this is an artist who is at the top of her game right now. Now this is Cat Power's second album of covers, which every review seems to make a big deal out of for no reason that I can figure out. There are plenty of great artists that played standards or songs that they just liked arranged differently from Dusty Springfield and Sinatra to Tom Jones or Isaac Hayes. I know that we have moved to a music loving public that expects artists to write and record their own songs but the thing about this album that I feel makes it work is that her arrangments make these songs her own.
As for another album that seems to be dividing both fans and non-fans alike Erykah Badu's new one New Amerykah part 1 definitely pushes the boundaries of the accepted sound of 'neo-soul'. With this album she really takes and explodes the expectations that I think people have of her music bouncing from more traditional Badu songs like Me and Honey to waving the freak flag with tunes like The Healer and the last half of Twinkle.
I don't know that I have a whole lot more to offer that you can't find in the many reviews elsewhere but I HIGHLY reccomend checking this album out and I am definitely looking forward to part 2 this summer.