– THE PEACEFUL PROTEST –
‘Musical genius’ isn’t a phrase that should be bandied about, but in the case of Raphael Saadiq it is undeniably deserving.
The multiple-Grammy Award-winning talent behind tracks from D’Angelo and Solange as well as four standout solo albums, not to mention his membership of 2000s neo-soul supergroups Lucy Pearl and Tony! Toni! Toné! all marks Saadiq (or Charles Ray Wiggins as he’s known to his Mum) as a generational talent of largely unparalleled proportions.
And yet, since 2011 we’ve been denied the privilege of new solo Saadiq.
That is, until now.
Something Keeps Calling is worth the wait.
A slow-burning, laid-back groove of a track, it is sparse in arrangement, with notes played only when they’re absolutely necessary.
The sweet falsetto in the chorus is spot on – as is the tasteful fuzz on Rob “Fonksta” Bacon’s guitar solo later in the piece.
The overall vibe is more in the style of a John Mayer (think: Rosie from2017’s The Search for Everything) than much that we’ve heard from Saadiq in his solo work and all the better for it. It’s more polished than much of Stone Rollin’ and far more contemporary-sounding than anything on The Way I See It, for example.
It means that, finally, those fantastic pop sensibilities that we’ve seen honoured in tracks like Untitled (How Does It Feel) and Cranes in the Sky may be about to recognised – in the general public’s consciousness – as Saadiq’s.
The track marks the announcement of a new album entitled Jimmy Lee which will be released on 23 August and was in part inspired in part by his brother’s addiction.
And, if you haven’t already guessed, I’ll be bookmarking that release right now.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
KOJEY RADICAL: CAN’T GO BACK
SEBA KAAPSTAD: AFRICA
TIZIANO BIANCHI: NIN-COM-POP
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –