Friday, November 22, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Ralphael Saadiq JIMMY LEE (review by Reg Thompson)

Ralphael Saadiq JIMMY WALKER
Review by Reg Thompson

     Soul has a way of evoking our feelings that at times becomes deep down in our spectrum. The message becomes clearer once the feelings and the power of the music creates a strong emotional bond. In his recent studio album in close to a decade, accomplished R&B musician Raphael Saadiq unveils a project that took a dark trip in his own psyche. Jimmy Lee is safe to say a contrast to the more conventional music he is known for. The album was dedicated to his brother of the same name of the album, who died from a heroin overdose after contracting HIV. Saadiq was able to unleash his feelings about the death all throughout the album. The album begins with the song Sinner’s Prayer by calling out to God. He questions if he hears the sinner praying, if so does he answer. This follows with “So Ready.” A very solid song that captures a vintage Raphael Saadiq sound and carried by its hypnotic bass that swoons the melody. The next song “The World IS Drunk” is one of the most thought provoking in tackling his brother’s death. He went on to say that the world needs to help those who succumb to sobriety issues instead of just ridiculing it. “Something Keep Calling” continues the momentum as “King’s Fall” tackles the subject of a male’s insecurities. “I’m Feeling Love” is maybe the best track of the album. 

This addictive chorus led song has a spiritual meaning of living life to the fullest. “Because I love my life I've been feeling more than blessed Even through the hardest times I thank God for my few friends.” is a standout line. 

As the album reaches its second half, the introspective has reached its apex here. “My Walk” continues on Saadiq living life to the fullest. While plenty of the songs such as Glory To The Veins and Riker's Island ranges influences from his Gospel roots and even the avant-garde sound of Kendrick LAmar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. (who also appeared on the album) Rikers Islands focus on the over abundance of African American men in prison and questions the true justice that people look for. 

 Jimmy Lee is a masterful work that closes out 2019. Despite the tragedy that surrounds it, the former Tony Toni Tone frontman proves he hasn’t missed a step and brings us a bold album in his discography.

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