Raphael Saadiq: Radio

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Posted January 7, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

Longtime Tony! Toni! Toné! frontman is back in the saddle with more of that groovy retro stuff

“Radio,” the new single from Raphael Saadiq’s soon-to-be-released LP Stone Rollin’, is already coming out of the box swinging. Like The Way I See It paid tribute to Motown, the new album is designed as another trip down memory lane. The recently revealed single is a bit more brash and tough on the edges, as Saadiq kicks up the James Brown ’50’s funk while playing with a Beatles rock ‘n roll arrangement (think of their 1963 cover of “Boys”). Towards the end of the song, the album’s predicted title is uncovered in the lyrics of “Radio”.  This is where the bass resembles the spunky walks of jazz greats and a Chuck Berry-like guitar solo jumps out of the speakers. His smart nostalgic, reverb-heavy production is also becoming a signature move in his modern pieces. The technique continues the classic soul transcendence brought upon by Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black record.

The video is also a bit inventive in tying images and clothing designs of the past with a more contemporary-modern sketch, even using clubland glimpses and a model wearing a glass-dress akin to Lady Gaga. Saadiq rocks the UK fashionista look wearing all black with fitted pant and his Buddy Holly black eyeglasses. The visuals aren’t as ambitious as the song itself, but it helps sell the record to younger and curious crowds.

Once again, urban black radio today will do a damn good job in avoiding this stuff. Who gives a damn. Saadiq’s “Radio” is solid enough to make you reflect on how good radio used to sound like.

Thanks to Rolling Stone for the video

J MATTHEW COBB

LISTEN TO:
RAPHAEL SAADIQ – RADIO

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TRACK RATING:

40

VIDEO RATING:

30


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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