Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nneka's Soul Is Heavy

For the last couple of years the British Isles have been a hot bed of activity for the neo-soul movement. From Duffy to Amy, to Sharleen, and everyone in between Britain re-discovered the joys of Motown, Stax, and Northern Soul and ran with it. Down south a few thousand miles, Nneka was doing the same thing...except in addition to Motown she surrounded herself with reggae, hip hop, and just about anything else with a groove. Her debut album, Concrete Jungle introduced the world to her vision of soul music and now her latest album, Soul Is Heavy seeks to establish her as a household name for the movement.

That shouldn't be that difficult because Soul Is Heavy is an open minded, soulful, beautiful record. Blending with ease, trip hop beats, reggae vibes, velvety vocals and a sense of positivity it almost seems impossible that Nneka's soul could be heavy. This is the sound of Motown in the 21st century; open minded, all over the place, and of course really quite good.

Nneka's voice carries the record and it fits every song like a glove. She's able to switch emphasis and emotion at the drop of hat depending on what the song calls for. It's truly impressive stuff; just sit and list to her give each song the right feel with the utterance of a few words and you to will be impressed. One listen to, "Shining Star," will illustrate this point perfectly; a soulful ballad with just enough groove she taps into her inner Staple Singers and nails it. The girl is good and every song here is a playground for her voice.

Soul Is Heavy is a good record because of its diversity, it's ability to embrace and utilize different sounds and Nneka's voice. If more soul music was like this the world would be a better place. Uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable, Nneka's Soul Is Heavy is worth its weight in gold.

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