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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on June 1, 2014
I saw Aloe Blacc the other day when he opened for Bruno Mars. I found his music very (and exactly as he describes) uplifting. He's a great musician and I don't remember the last time I paid for music, but his sound and songs really spoke to me enough to purchase his album. Great buy!
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on March 11, 2014
Once upon a time on YouTube, neo-soul singer Eric Roberson proclaimed that the best R&B albums of recent years were done by hip hop artists. As the interviewer was puzzled by his statement, he went on to explain himself further. He cited such albums like Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill", Andre 3000's half of the OutKast double album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" and Cee-Lo Green's "The Lady Killer". Joining that realm is rapper turned singer Aloe Blacc, who got his start as one-half of the duo Emanon. He and his partner Exile crafted three great but overlooked albums in the late 90's and early 2000's. Ironically, the duo wouldn't achieve fame until after they broke up. Exile garnered attention for his 2007 collaboration LP with Blu "Below The Heavens", while Aloe would achieve fame with his sophomore album "Good Things" with the hit single "I Need A Dollar". From there, the song took him to higher places- such as having his song as the theme to the HBO series "How To Make It In America". He also found himself singing the vocals on the song "Wake Me Up" for Swedish DJ Avicii, which lead him to a recording contract with Interscope Records.

Prior to releasing his debut, he released the EP "Wake Me Up" in 2013. He recorded several more songs for what became his major label debut "Lift Your Spirit". Originally released in the UK in Fall 2013, the album was finally released stateside in March 2014. Most of the record was produced by Self Scientific member/producer DJ Khalil, who's best known for his work with Eminem, Jay-Z, Skyzoo and the Clipse. Despite the obvious connections to hip hop, this album has more in common with singer-songwriters of yesteryear like Bill Withers, Terry Callier and Richie Havens. The album leads off with the acoustic remake of the song "Wake Me Up", which leads into the Elton John sampling single "The Man". He gets production help from The Neptunes' Pharrell Williams on the song about caring for our fellow man "Love Is The Answer". Former Dr. Dre session musician Theron Feemster (Mary J. Blige, ZZ Ward) produces the blatant pop single "Wanna Be With You". The production team Rock Mafia hands in the song "Ticking Bomb", which draws a clear influence from Johnny Cash. Aloe sings from the perspective of a career criminal on "Soldier In The City", while placing humanity over material things on "Here Today". Overall, Aloe Blacc's "Lift Your Spirit" is a great album from an industry veteran. While the album leans heavily toward a more mainstream sound, in the end the songs are well written and produced- and that's saying a lot in today's current pop music climate.
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on March 14, 2014
I first heard this living legends magnificent voice years ago in commercials and movies via the song "I Need a Dollar", which I am so surprised wasn't a big hit in the US. I liked the song a lot but never looked into Aloe. Fast forward to 2013, and Avicii is releasing his debut album. Then I heard that special voice of Aloe again on the song "Wake Me Up", which is one of the greatest songs ever written. I didn't buy Aviciis album though. I honestly dislike when a producer only uses other vocalists. Most people didn't even care who Aloe was. They gave all the credit to Avicii. I'll be honest, I was one of those people for a bit. I knew it wasn't Avicii singing, but I never fully appreciated who Aloe was yet. Fast forward again to 2014. The song "The Man" is becoming popular. I then look into Aloe Blacc and begin to fully appreciate him as a solo artist. This album comes out and I listen to the acoustic, also original version of "Wake Me Up", and I just can't believe how beautiful it is. So I buy the album after that and after reading that it is full of many different genres spliced together. Well I am glad I bought it because this is a good contender for Album of the Year. Here is a track by track review.

1. The Man: The theme song for many Beats by Dre commercials. I immediately noticed the Elton John sample and loved it. It is very well produced and the vocals are infectious. Great positive song to motivate yourself to. I'm glad this is finally giving Aloe the big hit in the US he deserved years ago. 10/10
2. Love is the Answer: Produced by Pharrell, this one is a great dance soul song. Very reminiscent of John Legends recent album. The lyrics have great meaning too. I could see this playing at clubs. Great track. 9.5/10
3. Wake Me Up: The BETTER version of the song. After hearing this, I like Aviciis version a lot less. I still love Aviciis version, but not nearly as much as this perfect gem. The production is crisp and deliciously executed. This one hits the emotions a lot harder than Aviciis. The string parts never sounded so beautiful. I really hope more people find out about this song. I hope it is released as a single and overshadows the Avicii version. Amazing song. Timeless. Song of the Year. 11/10
4. Here Today: Very uplifting song that builds up to an infectious chorus. The last part of this song is just perfect. The song is just bound to put anyone in a good mood. The production, the instrumentals, the singing. It all comes together in amazing fashion. 10/10
5. Can You Do This: This is the fastest song on the album. Reminds me a bit of "Runaway Baby" from Bruno Mars. Just a bit. This one is better of course. The groove of the song is fun. This isn't my favorite song though. It just doesn't fit the feel of the rest of the album for me. Its great, but it's not on par with the rest of the songs in my opinion. Still really good though. 8.5/10
6. Chasing: At first I thought the song was too 1960s corny because of the first time I heard the chorus. But then the chorus came in a second time and I just felt how great it was. The delivery of every vocal is very nice. 9.5/10
7. The Hand is Quicker: The vocals here. Just amazing. The music. Amazing. At first I thought this song was going to be boring seeing it was over 5 minutes long. Luckily this is 5 minutes of greatness. Every aspect of this song is great. Really a good example of Aloes genre blending sound. 10/10
8. Ticking Bomb: The title had me hesitant at first. I assumed it would be a mindless filler. That made the song hit me even harder because of the lowered expectation. The sound of the ticking bomb with the acoustic guitar followed by the light pulsating beat. Just pure perfection. This is the male equivalent of, dare I say, Adeles "Rumor Has it", but much much much better. Great lyrics too. 10/10
9. Red Velvet Seat: Very relaxing and soulful song. The most soulful song on the album. There is something very oldschool and classy about this song. The vocal delivery and the bluesy feel. Just masterful. I can picture myself in a big city walking down the park thinking of "that special girl" while listening to this song. Very powerful. 10/10
10. Owe it All: A great way to close the album. I do think the transition from the previous song to this one wasn't that smooth at all though. But luckily this song is amazing. The chorus is one of the catchiest and gentlemen sounding things I've heard in a while. This could be a single. Every single aspect of this song is sexy. Classy. Sexy. Great end to the US edition of the album. 10.5/10

So this album proves that Aloe Blacc is more than just a voice. More than just that guy on the "Avicii" song. I'm so surprised he hasn't been hugely big in the US till now. I hope this album introduces his voice and style to new listeners everywhere. This is a modern pop/soul masterpiece. A great collection of classy songs for all ages. Until now, the only other album I've considered for album of the year was Arcade Fires "Reflektor". But this album is now on the list for me. I hope this album gets Grammy recognition, even if not for Album of The Year. If they snub this album then I will lose what little faith I had left in the Grammys forever. Buy this album. Modern classic. Worth the money.
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on April 10, 2014
Just introduced to Aloe Blacc this year & must say his vocals/music is quite refreshing...was my only 5-hour traveling music recently & am truly a 'senior' fan now. THE Man's Spirit surely lifted my spirit. Kudos Aloe!
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on March 12, 2014
I love to see an artist improve on their craft. This is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is definitely food for the soul. It is laced with lessons that you learn in life and it's great to hear them song to layered melodies and rifts. I can hear the Pharrell Williams influenced production work. Aloe Blacc should be able to capture some nice awards with this one. If he doesn't it would be a shame on the industry.


P.S. All of the U.K. songs should have been put on the U.S. release. I'm saddened that they were not.
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on May 6, 2015
As the main single suggest(although written by Elton John) Aloe Blacc is the man. He tell us what a man duty is and that he fulfills it.
he dances Cabaret style, on the video for "I'm The Man". it's not bragging, if you live up to your words. "I Can Do That" is a party song
which is good without the video availabe to see on YouTube, and even better with the video. Ticking Bomb"reminds the listener that this world
won't last forever and the video implies how it will end. "Eyes Of A Child" and "Lift Your Spirit" do lift my spirit similar to "Glory" from the soundtrack to SELMA it's message of don't give up on life.
If you're a fan of John Legend, and Stevie Wonderi as I am,you probably will enjoy this.
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on March 12, 2014
I was thoroughly impressed all the way. Looking forward to what Mr. Blacc has in store for the future. Highly recommended!
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on April 19, 2014
I love Aloe Blacc, and I really enjoyed this cd. But I can't rate it any higher, because the title track "Lift your spirit" isn't on the cd entitled "lift your spirit". I've never seen this before, and I genuinely feel shorted.
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on January 4, 2014
The music is different from what you may normally listen to. Aloe is very talent vocally and gives you a variety of his method of capabilities on this cd. It seem to have songs that will catch your attention and wanting you to hear more of his music. Aloe voice reminds me of Bill Withers, Anthony Hamilton, and others to name a few.
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VINE VOICEon August 26, 2014
I'm a little late to the Aloe Blacc party but I sure am glad that I'm finally here! While watching tv, I would hear snippets of his music on various ads and promos and I went on a mission to find out the names of the songs and the artist behind them. This cd did not disappoint. I love this entire album, especially the first five tracks. The songs on this cd do indeed lift my spirits and make me feel happy. Aloe's beautifully deep and silky voice reminds me of Bill Withers which is a big compliment to Mr. Blacc. If you love soulful, bluesy, funky, feel good music that will having you dancing in your car (or anywhere you listen to it), then I highly recommend this cd.
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