Raphael Saadiq has created a time warp back to when Sly Stone ruled the urban airwaves and Motown was almost a way of life. On his fifth solo album, the former Tony! Toni! Tone! leader has crafted a masterpiece that harkens back to those days while still maintaining a fresh musical feel.
“Heart Attack” opens the album with Sly influences airbrushed throughout the pounding beat. The monotone vocals set the smoky back-alley-club feel that permeates the entire disc. The rockabilly styles of Ray Charles show up on “Day Dreams,” which features some killer steel guitar playing by Robert Randolph.
Saadiq’s lyrics may not initially hit you until several listens in, but that is when the album really endears itself. The back and forth of “Good Man,” where Saadiq asks, “How could you ever walk away/ After all I’ve done for you,” and his former lady (played by Taura Stinson) responds with how he’s a “good man, food on the table/ Working two jobs, ready willing and able,” is heart-wrenching. But he’s “a good man, thanks to you.”
“Over You” could be a #1 hit now, or 30 years ago. It is instantly catchy and perfectly chronicles how hard it is to get a former lover out of your head.
Stone Rollin’ is one of the best albums of this decade, even though it could have been released several decades earlier. This is one of those albums that people will be listening to 10, 20, even 30 years down the road and used to proclaim how good music was back then.
Raphael Saadiq: www.raphaelsaadiq.com