Aloe Blacc: Lift Your Spirit

Posted April 1, 2014 by in r&b



3.5/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , ,
Genre: Neo-soul, soul, r&b
Producer: Pharrell Williams, DJ Khalil, Theron Feemster, Rock Mafia
Label: Interscope
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 42:49
Release Date: 25 October 2013
Spin This: "Love Is the Answer." "Chasing," "Red Velvet Seat"


Vocally interesting, decent set of vintage-wrapped R&B


Missing a few pop-ready songs that spin like "Wake Me Up." The acoustic version is merely a pale knock-off of the original

“Wake Me Up” singer pulls off the mainstream LP he deserves

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

“Wake Me Up” singer pulls off the mainstream LP he deserves

We understand folk are just “waking up” to Aloe Blacc, but the popular hook singer on Avicii’s 2013 breakout single is far from a rookie. With two albums already behind him (both released on Mayer Hawthorne’s Stones Throw label), Blacc – born Egbert Dawkins III – has been toiling as an indie neo-soul act trying his best to fit in the vast world of hip-hop. His last LP, Good Things, was even certified gold in the UK and won considerable praises from critics. But timing means everything in this business, and Blacc’s need to capitalize on this newly-discovered momentum seems most important in his evolution.  On Lift Your Spirit, he covers the popular country/electropop mashup of “Wake Me Up” by focusing solely on the rusty acoustic barriers of the original. The chorus is slightly modified with a gospel tambourine shuffle, helping to masquerade listeners from the obvious removal of Avicci’s computer wizardry. But “Wake Me Up” is far from being the vocal point of observation here: The Pharrell Williams-produced “Love Is the Answer” sounds like Bill Withers on a delicious hip-hop groove; “The Man” whips a small slice of Elton John’s “Your Song” into a staunch neo-soul throwback; the nostalgic throwback sounds of Blacc’s gold-digging anthem “Chasing” delicately merges Delta blues and jazz with Motown; “Here Today” delights instantly with its feelgood lyricism (“We ain’t promised tomorrow, so I’m gonna live for today”). And then there’s the sparkling love ballad “Red Velvet Seat” which blends doo-wop and symphonic soul as if Isaac Hayes decided to allow Thom Bell to produce him.

Even with the pleasantries of the music aboard Lift Your Spirit entertaining the ear, his unique set of pipes seems to be far more interesting. When he digs into his mom-worshipping “Owe It All,” Blacc’s crooning climbs above the standard fare of Anthony Hamilton. He’s still a bit laidback in his pleas, but marvelously soars into the higher register of his tenor as if he’s been touched with the anointing of Stevie Wonder. There seems to be a definite lack of interesting material akin to “Wake Me Up” to help propel the disc beyond its slate of nostalgia. Blacc may get some extra gripes from technical hounds for being a vocal chameleon. He obviously shuffles from scruffy to youthful in a matter of seconds, but that seems to be the magic of his gift. That along with a decent slate of grown-folks r&b makes Lift Your Spirit one of the go-to r&b albums of the year.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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