Tag Archives: Goapele

Albums Matter: Andre’s List Of The Top Funky Full Length Albums Of From The Past Five Years

Prince At the grammys

The 57th annual Grammy Award ceremony’s this past Sunday seemed to have surprised everyone. Many performances had a far more serious, even evangelical tone with references to domestic violence and the revived understanding of racism bought on by the police violence of 2014. Maturity and growth were very heavily emphasized on every level-performance and presentation wise. It was Prince,who just released two albums at the end of the last year,who got everyone’s attention-with the words printed above spoken as he presented the Grammy for the best album of 2014.

Prince’s words are what moved me to pick this particular topic for this weeks blog. One very important musical factor shared with my blogging partner Rique is our appreciation and advocacy for the full length album as an important artistic format in terms of how the music we love and are socially moved by is presented. To have someone with as rich a musical history as Prince bring this up at a major award ceremony confirmed the 2010’s have been all about the revival of the album as a driving force in the funk/soul/jazz/R&B spectrum in particular. So here’s my list,year by year of the music on that particular playing field that’s deeply effected my listening.

2010

Erykah Badu Return Of The Ankh

Erykah Badu is always one to throw the unexpected into her grooves. Here her thick,burbling jams blend into songs that are not only a cohesive statement but when sampling is used? They are of things like Paul McCartney album tracks of AOR oriented fusion artists such as David Sancious or Roy Ayers’ Sylvia Striplin. A wondrously sexy celebration of the funk album.

?????????????????

Janelle Monae here was a key figure in the focus of both my music related blogs with her multi-genre embrace of the Afro Futurist ethic. This album was and is a true game changer in that regard.

John Legend Wake Up!

With both artists always edging just on the border of funk with their own respective releases? The groove burst out completely and with a total fluidity for John Legend and his backing band The Roots-including drummer/producer ?ueslove, for this (so far) one time musical collaboration.

2011

Beyonce 4

Known more for being innovative in terms of single songs,Beyonce’s fourth solo album gained a complete full length flow with a much more mature sound. Including the very polished Quincy Jones/Westlake style production of “Love On Top”.

Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz always had loads of funk in him. Here and there. Took him a long time before he fully identified with that funkier instrumental groove. And did so on one of his most thorough musical statements to date.

2012

Chris Brown Fortune

With contemporary electronic pop/hip-hop/dance music usually having enough energy to stretch only across a few songs? Chris Brown,during a less than satisfactory period for him personally no less,managed to take the contemporary musical end of his genre and stretch it out successfully longer than I’ve heard most do such a thing in some time.

Antibalas

This explosively percussion Afro-Funk group recording for Daptone were so connected to the original Afrocentric  pulse that spawned the original funk process groups such as Santana,Mandrill and War that following this album they became the backing band for the Broadway musical Fela! A rebirth of full length poly-rhythm at it’s finest!

Kaleidoscope Dream

Psychedelic,meditative and non traditionally structured sophomore release from new comer Miguel.

Victor Wooten

Bassist Victor Wooten saw such depth in this material that he released it both as a vocal and instrumental piece. Very original musical presentation at this time.

Macy Gray Talking Book

Macy Gray bought out her inner Sly Stone for this literal celebration of the album-re-making every song in original order from Stevie Wonder’s 1972 breakthrough album Talking Book on it’s 40th anniversary.

Talented bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding brings out the sprawling mid 70’s jazz/funk vibe for what is probably her most defining album as of yet.

Radio Music Society

Electronica meets boogie funk from a very interesting source blending a hard grooving as well as an ethereal quality.

2013

Toro Y Moi

Potent mix of electronica and boogie/synth funk.

Jyoti

Very bold sound from Georgia Anne Muldrow that embraces dramatic jazz/funk with a boom rap approach to production.

Trombone Shorty

Crescent City native Trombone Shorty presents the instrumental style of horn funk as a genre of sorts all it’s own,with many different tributaries,on this one album.

Apocalypse

Flying Lotus bassist Thundercat brings a huge,cinematic approach to psychedelic jazz-funk.

20 20 Experience

The first of two Justin Timberlake comeback’s this year. Probably a huge re-awakening for the album length music format,complete with 7-8 minute jams,that bough extended soul/funk to the broader contemporary pop audience.

2014

Pharrell

Long time producer emerges as a fully complete solo artist-full of funkified rhythmic energy and shook the world up in a way no funky music has in over three decades with “Happy”.

Kelis-Food

Kelis returns with an album that takes a very JB like organic instrumental soul/funk turn.

Paula

Robin Thicke’s emotionally charged break up album is a full on raw, muscular funk/soul extravaganza

Plectrumelectrum

Prince and the female instrumental trio 3rdEyeGirl become part of the double edged album sword in his studio comeback. It showcases a multi hued psychedelic funk/rock sound where the whole is definitely more important than the sum of it’s parts.

Goapele-Strong-As-Glass

Oaklands own Goapele lends the funk of Pharrell Williams and flowing,piano based jazzy soul/pop on an album that celebrates the flow of musical depth,dignity and elegance.

Black Messiah

D’Angelo shakes the world up with an extremely funkified statement that is still,at the time of this writing,showing people that black lives (and black music) matter a great deal.

2015 (So Far)

Uptown Special

With the month of January often being a driftwood month for new music? Mark Ronson brings Bruno Mars,Mystikal and Stevie Wonder together for some serious,churning “uptown funk? of many colors!


There were honestly more albums than I could’ve seriously listed in this blog that also fit right into it. But these ones made the most important statements on their own terms perhaps. A single song will always say a great deal. But if one impulse or a series of musical/lyrical impulse can be expanded out in a way that expands the mind naturally through a powerfully grooving auditory experience? Than I saw so much the better. So let’s all have it for the musical impact of the album! It’s a key organ in the anatomy of the groove!

3 Comments

Filed under Beyonce', D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Goapele, Janelle Monae, John Legend, Justin Timerlake, Kelis, Lenny Kravitz, Macy Gray, Mark Ronson, Miguel, Pharrell Willaims, Prince, Robin Thicke, The Roots, Trombone Shorty

The Anatomy of THE Groove 7/4/14 Rique’s Pick : “Hey Boy” by Goapele”

 

Boogie Funk has proven to be a very viable sub genre in the past few years for female R&B artists in particular as a sound that is highly musical, vital, nostalgic and yet current at the same time. An example of this would be a song such as Jennifer Hudson’s “Can’t Deny”, which updated Evelyn Champagne King’s classic “I’m In Love.” Today’s artist, Oakland, California’s own Goapele, caught my attention with her first hit, “Closer.” That songs slow, pounding beat, with it’s mesmerizing melody and dreamy Fender Rhodes tones, became one of a select group of songs that I heard coming out of young mens car speakers right alongside hip hop tunes. This is a fairly hallowed group of songs, that goes all the way back to classics such as “More Bounce to the Ounce”, and En Vogue’s “Hold On”. Goapele’s new single, “Hey Boy”, is a gaurunteed summer party starter, the type of song that can take you all the way from cleaning up on Saturday morning to getting ready for the club on Saturday night.

The song begins with a modern, “chopped and screwed” style effect, a male voice slowed down into basso profundo by electronic effects. The male voice is saying “You’s a bad girl” as Goapele sings the title of the song “Hey Boy.”  After the short intro,  the effervescant groove kicks in. It features an uplifting bassline that drives the song, backed by a muted guitar part playing the same part,  with rhodes chords in the background. Relatively quickly into the song, 8 bars in, the song changes section, going to a new groove and changing chords as well,adding in bright synthesizer pads which leads up to the chrous, where “Hey Boy” is repeated. The chorus section has another groove, featuring slap bass, more active guitar strumming, and bright synthesizer pads. The chorus section is reminiscent of Quincy Jones QWEST era productions. The chorus section, being the part of the song where the bass player slaps and pops, is interesting for going for a funkier, more unleashed feel. The song also has a breakdown around 2:40 or so which highlights the bass even more, immediately followed by a “Chpped and screwed” sction. Goapele and the band vamp out until the song concludes.

Goapele sings the song in a high, light, cheerful voice, with a rather rapid lyrical delivery, very rhythmic in her pronounciations. The song is most definitely about the better parts of a relationship, and a genuine connection, because as she says, “we don’t need to read between the lines/baby I can feel whats on your mind.”  Goapele here delivers a clear message of love and affection. The groove is hot, just like the summer it’s designed for. “Hey Boy” is unique for providing an authentic, band based early ’80s funk experience, with the modern hip hop “Chopped and Screwed” texture providing some nice contrast, and taking us between 2014 and the early ’80s. Now let the jeeps bump it!

3 Comments

Filed under 1980's, Blogging, Disco, Funk, Funk Bass, Late 70's Funk, Michael Jackson, Music Reviewing, Neo Soul