Happy March Listening!

Hello fellow supporters,

I am back with a new post and I have to make this one declaration, before I begin: what a month March has been! With all of the crazy detours and stressing demands that certain months bring, there is no doubt that music is one of the greatest therapeutic manevuers man has ever encountered. Throughout the past month, I have been so immersed into certain albums that have proven to offer some new perspective and dimensions in my experience as a “musicologist.” There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself into the rewarding pleasures of musical gems, as when you put on the headphones, there is another world that you’re transported into. With that in mind, I wanted to give a small flashback to my album playlist of March 2012. Please comment, follow and most of all, ENJOY! Here it goes…

Anita Baker – Compositions (1990)

There is something remarkable that must be said about this severely-underrated album from the Detroit native. One thing that always strikes me is how Baker chose to use a live rhythm band, instead of the generic drum machines and synthesizer-driven productions that seemed to grow in stature during this period in the R&B landscape. I guess that is why this album doesn’t sound as dated as some of her previous outings. It has become my favorite album from Baker as well. In fact, this is the closest she came to a full out jazz affair.
(Key cuts: “Talk To Me,” “Perfect Love Affair,” “Fairy Tales,” “No One To Blame,” “Love You To The Letter”)

Common – Electric Circus (2002)

I just recently got back into this album, for the simple reason I plan on doing an upcoming podcast on it. Upon listening to it, an urge of fear came onto me, for the simple reason I didn’t know how much its sound was going to weigh on me this time around. Nonetheless, my love for it grew even higher and I picked up some things that I hadn’t in the past. To me, this was/is Com’s artistic peak. Many have scorned it and some have praised it, but I still put this in the top rank as my favorite Com album.
(Key cuts: “New Wave,” “Come Close,” “Star *69,” “Between Me, You, and Liberation,” “I Got A Right Ta,” “Heaven Somewhere,” “Jimi Was A Rock Star”)

The Roots – Phrenology (2002)

In their flawless output of work, I still debate over whether this or Illadelph Halflife is the quintessential Roots album. Along with Common’s Electric Circus, I just recently got back into this album for the sake of an upcoming podcast on it, and I was quite moved and sometimes, unmoved by some of it. The second half of this album is just musical heaven and I still consider it to be one of Black Thought’s finest moments on wax. It is a huge ambitious opus that always has something to offer for everyone. I can never complain about that. A true headphone masterpiece!
(Key Tracks: “Rock You,” “Thought @ Work,” “Seed 2.0,” “Break You Off,” “Water,” “Complexity”)

The Original 7ven – Condensate (2011)

Before anyone ask: yes, these are the original members of the legendary 80s funk ensemble, The Time. I still consider them to be The Time, but Prince owns their name and wouldn’t allow them to use it for this project. On the music side of things, there is nothing to worry about. This is a Time and Minneapolis Sound record, in the traditional sense, but Morris Day and the guys are venturing into other territory on this record. Even though there were cringeworthy moments, where they are trying to be young at heart and cater to a younger audience (#Trendin), they are still locked in the groove and the funk is alive. I’m still knocking myself in the head for not cracking the album open shortly after getting as a Christmas gift last year. One of 2011’s undervalued triumphs!
(Key tracks: “Cadillac,” “Strawberry Lake,” “Role Play,” “If I Was Yo Man,” “Faithful”)

Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society (2012)

I have never given Esperanza Spalding a chance. Everytime I would see her during a televised performance, I would want to turn the channel, for the simple reason that her presence didn’t grab me. Yet, her musical chops as a bass virtuoso can never be denied. This new album is my first real Esperanza encounter and it was solid for the most part. Despite what the title and album cover hints at, this is no mainstream, please everyone, pop-influenced record. This record stays true to Esperanza’s acoustic jazz roots, but it has a heady soul influence and warm, intimate groove throughout that astounded me. Esperanza has gotten me big time and I enjoy it.
(Key Tracks: “Radio Song,” “Black Gold,” “Cinammon Tree,” “Crowned & Kissed,” “I Can’t Help It”)

There is so much more rewarding stuff I was listening to during the month of March, but these are some musical moments that stick out much more to me. My ears and soul were definitely on a musical run during March and there is so much more to come during the month of April, so stay tuned…