Wednesday, December 26

2007 Sounded Like...

Lots & lots & lots of music pushed me through this year. Teaching alone took me to some very dark places. As I fought my way out of that mess, I managed to get involved with some first-class losers in the first half of the year and had to make some decisions I thought I'd never have to make.
Then, all in one week, the school year ended, I met K, and summertime was here (and the livin' was easy.) This is my tribute to the songbirds and beatmakers that carried me out my door to face another day.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble + Meshell N'degeocello
I have been a major fan and $upporter of HBE since I first saw them in Union Square earlier in the year. I always managed to catch them on days I was feeling down, coming from therapy sessions of one kind (with a psycho-analyist) or another (with Barnes & Noble). I was very excited for the release of their most recent album. But before that happened, I had a nasty encounter with one of them - or actually, K did; I was just a witness - and I decided that I wouldn't buy the album. I hate when I see the "ugly" (human) side of a performer I like so much. Still, I love what they do, and how they go about doing it. favorite song:
And Me'shell...her new album is lovely, lovely... beautifully layered, a balance of feet firmly on the ground/head in the clouds sounds.

Georgia Anne Muldrow + Panacea
Ashley & I were right when we predicted yeeaaars ago that Ms. Muldrow was going to enlighten folks. I'd have little conversations with her at New School and think she was both envious and baffled by her eccentricities. One night, she played the piano and sang a couple songs for a small audience of students and that's when Ashley and I knew. I'm very happy to see her get to spread all her light & love through music. Olesi was what I played the day I took off work to get work done. She's a gift.
I hadn't heard of Panacea until a few months ago and right away I got all giddy, the way I did when I first heard Five Deez and Blackalicious. It's been a minute since I've heard a hip hop group that just made me smile and bob my head.

Karizma + Vinia Mojica
Karizma saved my life. The man is a miracle in the booth and I lose myself whenever I'm dancing and he's spinning. I just don't give a fuck about anything else. The chaos I endured at Winter Music Conference was well worth that one Bembe party at Rain. And then when he came back late, late that, goodness! All the times afterward have been blissful.
Over the summer, I was given a disc of Vinia Mojica tracks by a sweetheard friend of mine and I just don't understand how this woman does not have an official album out yet. "Force of Nature" steals me from my worries. That song is my wake up jam and my lullaby.

Nina Simone + Janelle Monae
In spring, I found myself waking up wanting to hear certain Nina songs. Then I just started letting full albums play ,all day long, finally digesting songs I never really paid much attention to before. Maybe the older I get, the more I appreciate the range of her humor and insight. I really enjoy bringing her music to class with me, because my students are confounded by her. They ask a lot of questions about her, and I'm happy to expose them to her, while I reconnect to her.
Miss Monae makes me take notice in the same way. She tells great stories with her songs and I can't get over her voice. She's on her way!

Amy Winehouse + Talib Kweli
People got lots of jokes. People got all kinds of criticism. All I got for Amy is love. Frank & Back to Black stayed in rotation for the entire year, no matter what I was going through. Her songs were forever in my head, hummed sung real low, from the stoop to the subway platform, through grad school seminars and the aisles at the grocery store, then finally real loud in shower. I hope she gets better, even if it means we don't get any more music from the girl.
I was very skeptical of the hype over Talib Kweli's album. I liked his collaboration with Madlib (but due to Madlib's production). K snuck a bit of Ear Drum into my playlists here and there, and I am happy to have a new love for Kweli's music. There's no denying that he has always been about giving strong messages to Black folks, but it's nice to like the beats that accompany them this time. And I love that he continues to work with Res.

Stacy Epps + HEAVy + Muhsinah
Stacy Epps' pretty voice and positive words have been good for the soul, especially now as I return to myself and start reflecting this winter break. Muhsinah's mind is all over the place, keeping me daydreaming, bouncing around, sparking lots of creativity. But the songs that I loved most this year, that I have connected to a lot of really sweet and really heartbreaking moments are those by HEAVy. I think these two are geniuses and I can't wait to see what they do next.

1 comment:

havestrength said...

ooooh lots to put on the listening list! yay!