Feature

Aloe Blacc: Lift Your Spirit

Aloe Blacc can write a catchy tune, but “it’s Blacc’s voice that hooks you.”

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Aloe Blacc can write a catchy tune, but “it’s Blacc’s voice that hooks you,” said Jim Farber in the New York Daily News. “Substantive, searching, and full of the depth modern soul men too often lack,” it powered two huge hits in the past year—the 3-million-selling “Wake Me Up” and current chart climber “The Man.” He’s reworked “Wake Me Up” here, making it “more folky, with a less booming beat,” said Jon Pareles in The New York Times. On “Love Is the Answer,” Pharrell Williams shows up to take the lead on production, providing “a hint-of-Latin, minor-key disco groove” along with retro horns and strings. That works, since Blacc’s voice “has the frayed-denim edge of Bill Withers, some of Stevie Wonder’s twists and turns, and a little Sam Cooke grit.” Unfortunately, most of this record’s production is handled by DJ Khalil, and the Eminem collaborator’s work is “so thoroughly retro that Blacc only reminds a listener of whom he’s emulating.” He has the talent to do more.

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