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Topic subjectErykah Badu NEW AMERYKAH pt. 1 the BREAKDOWN!
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=3&topic_id=167096&mesg_id=167096
167096, Erykah Badu NEW AMERYKAH pt. 1 the BREAKDOWN!
Posted by gingerlynn, Thu Feb-21-08 11:41 AM
The countdown to "New Amerykah Part One" continues. Last night, the spiritual and provocative Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) Gallery in Chelsea played host to Ms. Badu's listening party. Here's an attempt at a track-by-track breakdown of what I heard:

"Amerykahn Promise" - lots of sirens on some 'martial law is in effect, get your kids inside' kind of vibe. Honestly, I only noticed the proper ‘listening’ had begun when I heard the familiar beat and lyrics of the next track.

"The Healer" - most have probably heard by now; a straightforward, music is everything, really clever lyrics, full of attitude.

"Me" - In interviews, Ms. Badu speaks about her newfound thickness, that lyric is on this track; classic love thyself and all its glory, imperfections, etc. It doesn’t jump off the CD for me, but she kills it live, so maybe it’s a grower.

"My People" - wasn't sure which song this was at first, but it had some dope chanting on it. Was the first point in the listen my ears wandered a bit.

"Soldier" - reportedly the next single off of the album; powerful, thumping bass; packs a lot of meaning into simple phrases. Badu speaks a lot of late about feeling "more relevant" this time out. I felt that most on this track. There's some major urgency flowing through this. One of the hyper tracks that feels like a fist in the air sing-along by the end.

"The Cell" - What I could hear of the lyrics felt like a cousin to "Danger." The chorus is something about "code white stands for trouble", "shots from po-po" and "nickel bags," so I feel there's a cautionary tale in there. At the end, the beat drops out of the above-mentioned chorus and it was the first time the loud room of 'listeners' became completely quiet. Crazy energy with a touch of funk on it - a grower with fav potential.

"Twinkle" - What I actually remember hearing was something more akin to an interlude. Could've been in the tradition of the other albums with the tracks bleeding together. If so, the dark, airy sing/scream background vocals I heard belong to the end of "The Cell" or maybe it's the opening to "Twinkle."

"?" - Again, this sounded like an interlude - spoken male voices over an intergalactic-type beat a la "2001: A Space Odyssey." Could have been the end of "Twinkle" or the opening to "Master Teacher" and since there are only 10 tracks on the album, something in here is combined with the track immediately preceding or following it.
"Master Teacher" - Georgia Anne Muldrow guests on this one; starts off slow with not too much going on, but the beat changes for the bottom half; becomes a jazzier version of the same song with the keyboard leading the way. This would be the preferable interpretation (gotta love a built-in remix).

"That Hump" - starts off with the bass line mimicking the sound of stomping feet, like soldiers marching off. Then becomes kind of a sweet ballad with a little falsetto action toward the end kicking it up a notch.

"Telephone" - last track of the album inspired by a story Dilla's mother told Badu. Evidently during his final days, Dilla would float in and out of coherence, having very real conversations with people no one else could see. One of these people, as Dilla told his mother, was ODB. Dirty was telling Dilla that when he gets to the other side not to get on the red bus, though it was inviting. The white bus would be the one to pick him up. Great, beautiful song. Lyric: "Telephone! It's Old Dirty. He wants to give you directions home." Only Badu could make ODB sound like a visionary guide through the afterlife. When people say funerals are celebrations of an individual's life (as they fight back tears and look anything but celebratory), this song makes you believe it. The track closes with the uplifting words "Celebrate tonight" repeated.

"Honey" - is the hidden track on "Telephone." As Badu has mentioned elsewhere, "Honey" was not on New Amerykah Part One at all, but is a song from Part Two: Return of the Ankh. At Sylvia Rhone's suggestion, it was made the first single for this album. She ended up using it to bridge between the two concept albums.

In other news, the tentative release for the Edith Funker project, Lowdown Loretta Brown, is November 2008. Fan favorite "Annie" (the song included in the video for "Honey" during the "Hey Ya" nod about the chick missing a crucial undergarment) will be on this album. Also, the release of New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh will be marked with a single released on the 26th of each month from March until December. Why buy Part Two if you can collect the singles throughout the year? Because the full album will be released in conjunction with the debut issue of Badu's Freaq magazine, which will include full liner notes, lyrics and a feature on New Amerykah. It's a lifestyle mag that will cover education, fashion, sexuality, spirituality and of course, music.

-Candace L.

For more from Candace L., hit up The Reviews http://www.okayplayer.com/reviews