New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
Universal Motown Records
Erykah Badu is an island - thankfully. The longtime R&B artist seems completely isolated from trends, fads and unnecessary technologies on her latest record, New Amerykah Part Two. For an album that's peaking on top 10 lists worldwide, it's free of flimsy auto-tune and simple-minded, poppy love songs. Unlike the first New Amerykah, an album stocked with social commentary, songs about poverty and violence, this record is an offering to her heart.
An homage that pays equal dues to Badu's idealistic, loving, emotional side and to her dejected better-not-love-me side. Perhaps due to her brassy, vintage-soul voice, Badu handles what could be exasperated or cheesy subject matter in a classy way. She hardly shies from singing songs about heartbreak, but also lays it on thick with the improv-sounding "Love." Five albums in, Badu is still playing and experimenting here; perhaps my favorite part of this record is the blooper "You Loving Me" and the atmosphere-building "Incense," tracks that build the mood of the record, but showcase Badu as a perfectly imperfect artist.
Recommended download "Window Seat"