"Good Things" by Aloe Blacc

Aloe Blacc
Good Things

Stones Throw Records
2010

Review

This album is Soul in every sense of the word. Aloe Blacc has put together a collection of songs that represent the very best of Soul free of R&B excess. This is almost a music lesson for pop radio - not that they'd listen. But for those who can appreciate the soul of Soul music I say: pick this up, turn it on and share it with someone you love.

Good Things has lyrics about being down on your luck, life being hard, women with low morals, and trying to save your soul - all subjects sprinkled liberally in any of your favorite classic Soul songs. In fact, any of the songs on this album would be right at home on the Dead Presidents Soundtrack. . So if this is what you are into (as Flight of The Conchords might ask), then look no further:

I love that "I Need A Dollar" is a sort of hit - I mean, anecdotally anyhow. It seems to me that many of my friends and acquaintances of whom I would never have expected to know the name "Aloe Blacc" have been caught suddenly humming this song at one time or another. The fact that it was in the opening credit sequence for an HBO series probably helped, but the response to this song has been really interesting. Lyrically it hits the right notes as well in that it is a song about a guy down on his luck who really needs a dollar (clearly he needs more than a dollar but the dollar represents a chance to change your luck).

"Hey Brother" is a funky, funky little number and cautionary tale of that classic genre character of the no good woman wronging a good man. "Femme Fatale" follows along the same subject and is incidentally the nicest song about a femme fatale that I've ever heard (It's practically a ballad and I think that's the point).

But aside from "I Need A Dollar", my favorite song on here is "Take Me Back". "Take Me Back" has the kind of beat that your favorite underground Hip-Hop producer would dig in some deep Soul record crates to sample. Add to that beat Aloe Blacc's lyrics about a dying man wanting to come back to life.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray my lord my soul t$o keep
And if I die before I wake
I know it got to be a mistake
Lord take me back

As a lover of Soul music, I cannot possibly recommend this highly enough. This is an amazing accomplishment for Aloe Blacc and is likely my pick for Soul music album of 2010.

4.333 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. I Need a Dollar (04:04) 5
2. Green Lights (02:55) 4
3. Hey Brother (02:37) 5
4. Miss Fortune (04:19) 4
5. Life So Hard (04:11) 3
6. Take Me Back (03:43) 5
7. Femme Fatale (03:52) 5
8. Loving You Is Killing Me (03:24) 3
9. Good Things (04:02) 5
10. You Make Me Smile (03:25) 5
11. If I (04:07) 5
12. Mama Hold My Hand (05:08) 3
13. Politician (reprise) (01:38)