"When a couple finally decides to launch the nukes, everyone involved in their immediate circle will be affected by the fallout."
It's been awhile since I blogged about...well, anything. And as you all know, I try to reserve my reviews for stuff I really think my friends/fam/fans should be hearing. The project in question comes at a pointed moment in music, and a poignant moment in my own life, suffice to say that its original release was canceled and the music shelved indefinitely. But, like the wind, when singer/writer/producer B.Slade decides to sweep in - in his case, with some hot new tunes - we're going to feel it, regardless of whether or not we're prepped for it. Case in point: this latest LP, "My September Issue."
As previously noted by Slade himself, "My September Issue" is what he would consider to be some his most honest and vulnerable work, taking the listener through a 16-track semi-autobiographical account of the demise of one of his relationships. In other words, yes, this is the musical prodigy's "Breakup" album. Considering his prior work has defied both genre and content standards, this kind of "close-to-the-chest," emotionally charged subject matter almost unintentionally steps outside of the B.Slade idiom, allowing the listener to not only hear about a deeply personal life experience, but actually be a part of the several phases of a breakup. Lies, anger, denial, rejection, depression; all are very raw, physiological reactions to the untimely conclusion of an intimate partnership, and all are present - almost in that order - on this LP. Only when reach the end of this project are we treated to some personal reflection, meditation, and ultimately, healing, bringing us - and B.Slade - to the end of this almost Kübler-Ross-like journey.
For those who have been B.Slade fans for some time (present company included), and for newer listeners, fear not: while the topic of this album is a more novel one for the artist, all of the great musical aspects that make said artist the critically acclaimed musician he is are present. You can expect to find the usual suspects here, including vocal harmonic structure that is both lush and aggressively omnipresent, off-the-wall + sumptuous production, and, of course, some of the most skillful & fiery singing you've ever heard. What I've found with "My September Issue" that sets it apart from B.'s earlier work is the strenuous and exemplary commitment to percussion and melody. Not that we haven't gotten great beats or vocal lines from him before, but "September" seems to use both very singable top lines and virtually tribal kick-drum patterns as the sonic super-glue that holds this piece together (ironic, considering the content is describing in detail how B.Slade practically almost fell apart during the end of the relationship in question). I've found myself singing along to most of the records while simultaneously doing the one-foot-stomp to the track; in the words of Martha Stewart, "it's a good thing."
I mentioned before that "My September Issue" comes at a poignant moment in my life, as the quote at the top of this piece - and the music - are ringing true for people who are in my close circle right now. While I myself am (dare I say it) blissfully unattached for many years, this breakup album has, if nothing else, provided me with a much clearer picture of what a rocky relationship - and its demise - feels like from the inside. Almost too clear, in fact. Upon listening, you may find your heartstrings being pulled in directions you thought you had closed after an emotional breakup of your own. You might even have to grab a few plates to break after listening to "Hatfield McCoy," or stopping what your doing to take in the full scope of "Six Years Old," or grab a few tissues to wipe away some eye-water while experiencing "All I Got Is Me." But this is the essence of true artistry; to be able to capture these kinds of feelings and present them in a tangible way that satiates the artist's need for emotional release, and provides the listener with some closure of their own.
In short, "My September Issue" does exactly what it sets out to do: tell an ages-old story through a personal trial, using great music and authentic poetry. And true, while the title artfully deceives us into thinking this is an editorial work rather than a musical piece of B.Slade's history, it would be hard to deny that, were it solely a written contribution, it would be a shoe-in for a slew of literary awards & accolades. I don't think I'd be remiss in paraphrasing one of our most popular MC's and business moguls, Sean "Jay-Z" Carter:
"Man, and I tell ya it'd be a best seller."
To review full credits for "My September Issue," and purchase: Click Here
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