The Gumption is the second full-length album by Canadian actor and soul singer Tanika Charles. She has attracted a good bit of attention in her home country, picking up nominations for both the Juno Awards and Polaris Music Prize. She also has recurring role on the drama series Bomb Girls. Like her American contemporary, Tanika Charles is a multiple threat.
“Tell Me Something” opens the record with a smoldering, slow burn. She calls out a lover for stringing her along. She ends the song speaking to her boy saying; “I’m not sitting around waiting for you to make that call. And I’m not talking about a phone call. I’m taking about that decision where you choose me.” Charles lets us know that she’s not playing games and she’s not taking bull from anyone.
Charles channels classic Motown rhymes and harmony on “Remember to Remember.” She snaps the tune into the present with a hip-hop break laying down the law. DJ Kemo adds some funky, distorted keyboard sounds to “Cool Scorpio” giving the song a futuristic funk hook. “Cadillac Moon” feels like the sort of slow jam written for cruising in a convertible and playing at high school dances.
While The Gumption sometimes sounds like the Funk Brothers time-warped to 2019, laying in a solid and timeless foundation for Tanika to sing over, she’s not living in the past. “Upside Down” takes the cinemascope, wide screen sound of an Isaac Hayes soundtrack and injects a time’s up lyric. “Ok, I need you to get the word out. I need you call the press, you can organize the voters and you can stop stepping on our necks.”
I’ve been commanded. I’m putting out the word. The Gumption is the real deal.