on September 16, 2008
Ok, Michael McDonald did it, as did Boyz II Men. Released albums of Motown standards, I mean.
Raphael Saadiq returns on his third solo studio disc with a similar principle, but with a twist; "The way I see it" comprises 12 original songs which were clearly inspired by Motown, they sound like Motown classics that never were. Right down to the length of most of the songs (about 3 minutes each), the harmonies, to the use of live instrumentation, he's got everything down to a "T"! It never sounds like pastiche.
Opening cut "Sure hope you love me" is an upbeat song that The Temptations or The Miracles could have done, and that sets the tone for most of the upbeat songs. "100 yard dash" (groovy with excellent harmonies), "Keep marchin'" (very Miracles-like), the sunny and bouncy "Big easy" (which takes a clever look at Katrina's effect on New Orleans - The Big Easy - using a story of a search for his girl who went missing), "Love that girl", and "Staying in love".
However, where he excels is the ballads; The all too brief "Just one kiss" features Joss Stone duetting (he did some production on her last CD) and reminds me of "I second that emotion". Saadiq admits this song was inspired by Smokey Robinson.
"Calling" is a stunning Doo Wop ballad with some Spanish guitar and vocals. It sounds like something Anthony & The Imperials would have done.
The piano/organ ballad "Oh girl" is awesome. Sweeping, and sung in a youthful falsetto, with crooning harmonies. "Let's take a walk" reminds me of Little Stevie Wonder (you bet Stevie would have been too young to sing about THAT though, lol!).
"Never give you up" features additional vocals by CJ Hilton, and a harmonica solo by Motown legend Stevie Wonder. It sounds like something from the Diana & Marvin duets album.
The groovy "Something" is the only thing that comes close to the Neo Soul stylings of his other 2 albums. The lyrics are autobiographical.
Closing is another version of "Oh girl" with an utterly unneccessary rap by Jay-Z. I guess it was done to get some airplay as I'm sure most stations would pass up this album for the manufactured pap that crowd their playlists.
Looking for real music? look no further!
on September 23, 2008
I was kind of skeptical of buying this since I read in a few reviews of Raphael Saadiq taking his new album, The Way I See It, back into the 60's. I admit, I had to let this concept grow on me a little bit, only because I was not familiar with that kind of music. Thankfully it did, because the whole vibe does remind me of old 60's soul music. My dad, who grew up around the early/mid 60's, always played that kind of music during long road trips. So hearing something like this clicked in my head, as memories of those times.
Raphael Saadiq always had a great voice, all the way from his Tony Toni Tone days (they always loved that kind of music), so his vocals just flows with the vibe (on "Oh Girl" is vocals sounds like the lead singer from The Spinners). With upbeat songs such as "Sure Hope You Mean It" and "Keep Marchin'" has an old vibe to it. Love songs don't fail like the swingy (I guess I can make up a word too) "Big Easy", and the great sounding "Just One Kiss" with the help of Joss Stone. My favorite on here is "Oh Girl", and even the second take with Jay-Z is a bonus. Another favorite is "Never Give You Up" with CJ Hilton background vocals and legend Stevie Wonder playing his signature harmonica. Love it.
The Way I See It is a very conceptual album that is great. The music is sort of a time machine to bring back nostalgic memories for me (and if you were around that time, it does a lot more for you). With the nice sounding vocals and swell production, this is one that I will keep in heavy rotation for a while, and that's "the way I see it". Peace.
Guest Appearances: A-
Musical Vibes: A+
Top 5 Tracks:
1. Oh Girl [2nd take] (featuring Jay-Z)
2. Never Give You Up (featuring CJ Hilton and Stevie Wonder)
3. Big Easy
4. Sure Hope You Mean It
5. Keep Marchin'
1. 100 Yard Dash
2. Just One Kiss (featuring Joss Stone)
on September 20, 2008
If the 60s Motown sounds is not your thing you probably will not like this cd. In my humble opinion, Saadiq knocks it out of the ballpark with this one, in terms of the musical arrangements, aching emotions, and sweet lyrics. He pours his heart and soul into every song - you would be hard-pressed to find any filler here. You cannot tell that the album was created in 2008! Yea, it is retro and breaks little to no new ground but damn Saadiq can craft mighty fine tunes. With so many production credits and quality albums under his belt Saadiq is heading towards legendary status. Ignore the hater reviews!
on January 14, 2010
There is only one possible explanation for the existence of this album. Here it goes...
"And that was Amy Winehouse!" the deejay announced cheerfully, "Rounding out our third hour here on The All British, All Girl Fauxtown Revue! Stay tuned for more hits from Adele, Joss Stone, Duffy, and..."
"That's it! I've had it!" Old Doc Brown declared, slamming his morning coffee down in a fit of disgust, "Something must be done!"
Like a blur of righteous indignation, the Doc bolted for the front door. Soon, the old DeLorean was gassed up and ready to go. Seconds later, the vintage vehicle was screeching to a halt in front of the palatial estate of one Raphael Saadiq, late of Tony! Toni! Tone! fame.
"Doc?" Saadiq queeried warily, stooping to collect his morning paper, "What are you doing here?"
"Raphael, get in!" Brown shouted in reply, "There's no time to explain!"
Saadiq had barely settled into the passenger seat when Doc Brown floored it, tearing off down the driveway at breakneck speed.
"Whoah! S-slow down, Doc!" Saadiq stammered, "What's the rush, man? Where are we going?"
"Motown!" the Doc declared, with wild-eyed excitement, "1965! If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... the world of pop music is gonna see some serious sh..."
And short of a similar story involving Professor Peabody and the Wayback Machine, that's about as close as I can come to explaining this little gem.
So many of the songs on this album feel and sound as if they might've been composed by Smokey Robison or Holland-Dozier-Holland and cut at Hitsville USA c. 1965. It's truly surreal.
Stand out numbers include "Sure Hope You Mean It" which might've come from the Temps in their prime (Even in his New Jack Swing days, I've always felt that Raphael's vocal bore a striking resemblance to that of Eddie Kendricks, and this record really drives that assertion home.), "100 Yard Dash", which also feels as if it came to us through a timewarp and wouldn't seem out of place on a Mary Wells album, and "Keep Marchin'" which distills the essence of the Civil Rights era, effortlessly capturing that famous political/sociological subtext the Motown writers crafted so cleverly into so many of their pop masterpieces. On "Sometimes" Saadiq abandons his Motown sensibilities for just a moment and gives us his best Sam Cooke impersonation. It works out better than most.
"Calling" recalls classic doo-wop soul and the early Miracles, "Staying in Love" would've worked for the Four Tops, "Let's Take a Walk" might've been an early Marvin Gaye tune, and "Never Give You Up" features Stevie Wonder himself, boldly demonstrating that Raph is not just another Motown wannabe, but can easily hold his own next to the genuine article.
Not to mention the hit single "Love That Girl" and "Just One Kiss" on which Raphael and Joss Stone KILL IT, rivaling any duet in the history of modern R&B (See, unlike Doc Brown, I ain't hatin' on the British girls! If someone has the pipes, they have the pipes!)
Speaking of which...
I don't know what to say to the tin-eared neanderthals who've panned this album, some even being so insipid as to compare it unfavorably to a couple of the British babes mentioned above in this review. I guess Motown nostalgia isn't as adorable and trendy when it's being done by an actual Black American, huh? You've gotta be a frail young thing from across the pond to really pull the whole American soul thing off, right?
Take it from a Motown fan of several decades who actually owns almost every major record the studio ever produced: This is as close to the real deal as a nostalgia album is ever gonna get. Pick this one up as soon as you get a chance. You won't regret it. Tell 'em Doc Brown and Prince Nikodeem sent ya!
on September 16, 2008
Raphael Sadiq has been a dominant force in R&B for over twenty years as the front man of groups Tony Toni Tone and Lucy Pearl. As a producer he's worked with everyone from Joss Stone to D'Angelo. Now with his third solo album Sadiq bravely takes on the R&B sound on the sixties and it's no surprise he succeeds with great success. The Way I See It along with Dwele's Sketches Of A Man and Eric Benet's Love & Life is one of the best R&B CD's released in the last six months and I can guarantee if you like REAL music then you won't be disappointed. I broke down the CD track by track to give you a feel of what the CD is about.
1. Sure Hope You Mean It - The Opening Track Has a David Ruffin Type feel it and prepares you for a journey into soul music. Raphael talks about his lady always telling him that she loves him and he hopes that the words are true.
2. 100 Yard Dash - This is another winner with Sadiq talking about how far he'd run for love.
3. Keep Marching - This is an inspirational song in my opinion. It has a sixties Marvin Gaye type feel to it and could easily serve as the back drop for a movie set in the sixties.
4. Big Easy (featuring The Infamous Young Spodie & the Rebirth Birth Band) - Sadiq was quoted in interviews as saying Spike Lee movies inspired this song. Sadiq channels a young Curtis Mayfield with this song, and while listening to this song I honestly think Sadiq could score a movie soundtrack with ease.
5. Just One Kiss feat. Joss Stone - This is a lovely ballad with a summer time to feel it remsicent of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's, "Keep On Loving Me Honey." Sadiq who produced the majority of Stone's 2007's Introducing Joss Stone with ease, has a great debut partner in the form of Stone, who happens to be one of the strongest blue eyed soul songstress makes eagerly anticipate her third album with this track.
6. Love That Girl - The lead single and another feel good track. Every time I hear this song it just makes feel like dancing with my wife. Listening to this song makes me realize how much I wish I could have grown up in the sixties when Motown was in it's prime. One of my favorite songs on the album.
7. Calling - Although I was, loving this album, I was anxiously awaiting a ballad on the album, since Sadiq has written and or produced some of the best ballads of the nineties. Sadiq's falsetto is in top form with this piano slow jam. This song reminds me of the Gamble & Huff Philly sound of the seventies.
8. Staying In Love - Sadiq is talking about how easy it is to fall in love with this track. Listening to this song reminds me of a lost Stevie Wonder & Jermaine Jackson collaboration. The production reminds of Stevie's production.
9. Oh Girl - Sadiq was quoted as saying with the song Oh Girl The song "Oh Girl" he wanted to "stirs up images of famed Philly soul harmony groups like The Delfonics & The Spinners": " He achieves this goal with this song. It has a vibe to it remsicent of The Delfonics La La Means I Love You.
10. Walk Outside - This song has a bluesy Johnnie Type Taylor feel to it and like the rest of the album it's a winner.
11. Never Give You Up feat. Stevie Wonder & CJ- All I Can say about this track is WOW ! Two R&B legends on an amazing track that took my ears to a poetry café. Stevie & Wonder voices merge so smooth together it's a wonder to why they've never worked together before. When Stevie starts playing the harmoncia, you can't help but feel the groove of the music. This song has a Chicago steppers feel to it.
12. Sometimes - The last original track on the CD is an inspirational gospel themed song where Sadiq talks about his struggles in life. A perfect closing to one of the best R&B albums of the year.
13. Oh Girl remix feat. Jay-Z - One of the best rappers alive appears on the last song on the album. Sadiq whose had collaboration with rappers like Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg, Devin The Dude & DJ Quik in the past, has another winner with the Jigga man. Jay verse is similar to Song Cry from The Blueprint. I would like the song a tad bit more if Sadiq had changed the beat up but it's still a winner of a song.
Raphael Sadiq's third solo album should serve has a hand book to many of this young R&B singers who need to learn what real R&B is all about and that's combing both Rhythm & Blues and not just focusing on the former.
on September 8, 2009
You remember Raphael Saadiq from the 1990s because he was the lead singer of Toni Tony Tone. They have quite an extensive catalog which includes smash hits like "Lay Your Head on My Pillow", "Anniversary", "If I Had No Loot", and "It Never Rains in Southern California." Yes, people, it was the ultra-talented Raphael Saadiq who lead each of those memorable numbers. He went on to become the lead singer for Lucy Pearl before going completely solo. Saadiq released "Instant Vintage" and "Ray Ray", which are both great LPs. In fact, "Ray Ray" introduced me to one person who would go on to be one of my all-time favorite singers; her name is Teedra Moses, please familiarize yourself with her immediately. Fast forward to the present and here we are at this third solo effort, "The Way I See It."
Saadiq found someones time machine and took us back to the 1960s and 70s. I heard influences from Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Curtis Mayfield. The album's lead single, "Love That Girl" is a real love song and incredibly easy to hand-dance to. Saadiq does a fine job with delivering the words, the bass stands out and the hook will linger in your mind long after the track ends. Music mogul Stevie Wonder is on harmonica on track eleven, "Never Give You Up." He, Saadiq and CJ all do a marvelous job on this track. Actually, this song really brings Marvin Gaye to mind. "Sometimes" is one of this album's finest moments. Raphael tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this cut. He delivered this song better than almost any of the others. The message here is even your closest loved ones will hurt you and make you cry "sometimes." Such an effective track, this is. "Falling in love can be easy, but staying in love is too tricky" is the hook to "Staying in Love", another fine moment on this album.
I really enjoyed this album, but it definitely takes more than one listen in order to get into it. In fact, this album has an acquired taste; you won't want to listen to it all of the time. But it's a fine piece of work and worth putting money into.
Mikeisha's Top 5
1. "Love that Girl"
2. "Staying in Love"
4. "Never Give You Up"
5. "Just One Kiss"
on June 3, 2015
Had this on my Wishlist for a long time and wonder why I didn't download it sooner. I love it with the exception of one song, see below. Catchy tunes and beats reminiscent, for me, of the groups from the 50's and early 60's such as The Platters, etc. The only song I did not like was, "Oh Girl", a duet with Jay Z. The rap just does not fit in with the vibe of the album and ruins in from being perfect.
on March 18, 2009
If you loved Tony! Toni! Toné!, and if you think that "Anniversary" is a never-grow-old modern soul classic, then you can't help but like Raphael Saadiq. To really love this CD however, you have to not mind the Motown sound, as this has a significant Motown retro-60s feel to several tracks.
Raphael sounds like he's channeling Eddie Kendricks or Marvin Gaye at times, and at others, like he's channeling the whole of the 60s Temptations.
To me, it's nice to hear someone with melody and feeling sing soul again, instead of some of the youngbloods chanting over a heavy formulaic rhythm devoid of much melody.
As a ballad man myself, my favourite is "Calling" but there's something for everyone. Enjoy.
on May 24, 2011
This record contains some pretty good songwriting. But I do not understand why so many folks are fawning over this record. I for one, have never been enamored with the audio quality of most Soul/R&B recordings 50s and 60s; I'm seriously glad we're out of that sonic Dark-Age, if you will. On the other hand, I do admire the care and effort that was taken to recreate the vintage sound. That this record has done so well in this time of Pro Tools, heavy sub bass, pitch-corrected or pitch-altered vocals, clap tracks, and super-hot output levels is no small feat. I'd recommend it to youngsters or old-schoolers who just miss that sound. But this certainly isn't ground breaking or innovative as some might think.
This is 'The way I see it': Dang D'Angelo, where the heck is the new album? If you wasn't dealing with issues last decade, maybe Raphael would've kept this one on the shelf til 2020...
on March 23, 2009
This album deserves praise and five stars for refleting on the past while remaining in the present. Many musicians try to channel an earlier era and fail but Raphael does it and succeeds. When I put the cd in and pressed play, I was taken with opening track, "Sure Hope You Mean It." As other reviewers have already stated, the melody sounds like Motown Sound. This is a cd that can be played from beginning to end. My favorite track is Oh Girl and I have had it on repeat for the past two days. I love it.