The Best Albums of 2011: #3

Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin’

Perhaps no other genre of music personifies the term “timeless” more than soul. From Sam Cook to Smokey Robinson to Curtis Mayfield, soul music has that rare quality of endurance and accessibility. Thankfully, modern day crooner Raphael Saadiq knows this all too well. As lead singer of the 90’s R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone!, Saadiq helped craft a slew of hits that fit the New Jack Swing style of the day. After departing the group, Saadiq first turned to production and writing before releasing a series of albums as a solo artist. His third album The Way I See It, was critically acclaimed and created somewhat of a coming out party for the artist.  Not wishing to rest on his laurels, Saadiq released Stone Rollin’ in 2011, to equal acclaim; and for good reason. Like its predecessor, Stone Rollin is at its core a throwback soul album, that manages to retain a high degree of originality by blending classic soul with elements of rock n’ roll,  and classic pop music. The production is first rate, and the arrangements on the album demonstrate a high degree of songcraft. Overall, the album has that rare quality of blending the past (you might think you were listening to a Booker T. & The MGs tune on “Stone Rollin”), with the present (see the opener “Heart Attack”). Stone Rollin is truly a great album, and there’s a little bit here for everyone.

Select Cuts: Heart Attack, Stone Rollin’, Just Don’t, Movin Down the Line

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