Click the stars below
albums and tracks
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
Having been responsible for some of the most respectable r'n'b of the late '80s and '90s with Tony! Toni! Toné! and Lucy Pearl, Raphael Saadiq has now turned his hand to saving soul music from the identikit efforts of Ronson and Winehouse.
And as the summer evenings begin to roll in and a spring enters our step, he may well have released the album of the summer. Full of soft, lilting, bittersweet '50s and '60s soul, The Way I See It brings so many great ideas together it feels like a Best Of collection.
From the laid back groove of opener 'Sure Hope You Mean It' to the sizzlin' innuendo of 'Let's Take A Walk', Saadiq keeps it simple but devilishly effective. Each song relies, by and large, on a single idea; a funky but understated bassline, as on '100 Yard Dash', or a rapid call-and-response vocal line, as on 'Staying In Love'. While you could mistake this for a lack of creative vision, Saadiq's melodies weave themselves around you so completely that each song has its own character. In fact, after only a few listens these tracks feel like classics.
Lyrically, Saadiq is playing with a full deck too. On 'Keep Marchin', which recalls Curtis Mayfield's Blaxploitation work, he's created a timely call to power. On 'Big Easy', meanwhile, he deals with the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, but through the guise of lost love: "Somebody please tell me/What's going wrong/They say them levees broke/And my baby's gone."
Aside from the disappointing collaborations with Joss Stone and Jay-Z, Saadiq has certainly touched on something here. Cynics will say that if you want to listen to music that sounds like it was made in the '50s and '60s, you should listen to music from that era. But who cares when it was made? On The Way I See It, funky soul has never sounded so good.