9 April, 2010@3:18 am
After the leak of “Jump Up In The Air”, it seemed as if we were in for a Parliament Funkadelicallly influenced album from Erkyah Badu. At first, it was unclear why she would remove the song from the album, but further inspection, its indebted more to Sun Ra, the man who inspired George Clinton. Not that its necessarily a bad thing.
What’s odd, is that “Jump Up in the Air” featured the notorious syrup sippin’ Lil Wayne. But in reality, Erykah seems more like the one on syrup, as she just never seems to have the energy to rise above her songs, instead of singing with them. “20 Feet Tall” is a nice start to an album, as she beams down and sings over some sparse organ. Then it kicks into “Window Seat”, the breezy song with the infamous Zapruder influenced video. It’s a solid song, but not the albums best.
“Turn Me Away” is about as close as Badu can get to G-Funk. This is a pure summer jam and you can hear Badu start to have fun with this one minus some of the serious voice. “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long” also echo’s the mid nineties in the best way possible. But after these songs the album starts to cruise. “Love” features a Biz Markie sample looped over a fuzzed out bubbling funk guitar. She gets back to a jazzier side of the album with the brief “You Loving Me (Session)”, though she laughs at the end its almost a skit or demo. Where sometimes these songs sound as though they could veer into average neo soul territory, the production lifts them up. Badu can hold her own, but the tiny synth bouncing over the slowed and sparse drums is what truly makes a song like “Fall in Love (Your Funeral)”.
She ends it with “Incense” and “Out My Mind, Just in Time”. These are two of the slower tracks that never seem to get going. “Out of My Mind” floats into different themes and sounds, but never sticks with one or hits any groove hard enough to be worth riding. Badu is obviously capable of interesting and great things, but as weird as she projects herself, it seems as though she’s always reigning her albums in.
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