Monday, February 02, 2009

Raphael Saadiq review on JC Report

Put A Record On: Raphael Saadiq Sees It A New Way
February 2nd, 2009 | Los Angeles

The legendary Raphael Saadiq has left his sonic hideout to release a retro album of vintage hip-hop and R&B. The triple Grammy-nominated The Way I See It is a welcome stylistic return to the heydays of the '60s and '70s, as the former Tony! Toni! Toné! frontman recaptures the nostalgia of classic soul.

Of this throw-back inspiration, Saadiq explains: "While I was making the album, I watched videos by Gladys Knight & the Pips, Al Green, the Four Tops...and fused them all together." Saadiq cuts a dashing figure in his classic suits and horn-rimmed glasses, offering a welcome shift from the bling clad R&B stars of today. This classic vibe doesn't make him any less current, however—since his last solo album, Ray Ray, Saadiq has produced, played with and written for artists from Lionel Richie to Mary J Blige, Kelis and John Legend.

The Way I See It might be an ode to the music Saadiq grew up with, but songs such as "100 Yard Dash" also give a nod to T!T!T! with its high tenor vocals and live favorite "Keep Marching" has a distinct British Northern Soul sound with its consistent drumbeat. Meanwhile, Joss Stone performs impressive guest vocals on "Just One Kiss." It may be hard to capture the perfection of the past, but with Raphael Saadiq back on the scene there's a new standard on the circuit.

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—David Hellqvist

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