How do you intro an album from one of the most respected, eccentric, talented, yet criminally underground artists to make music? He’s worked with your favorite artists favorite artists but something, maybe intentionally, keeps him just under the popular radar. It’s definitely not what you’d expect from someone with his respect and talent. Bleuphoria is the 5th studio album from Rahsaan Patterson who is probably most commercially known for his lead single from his 1997 debt album.
1. I Only Have Eyes For You
We’re a far cry from the Frank Sinatra version or my favorite version by The Flamingos and the Complexions. This song is classic no matter who sings it or how they sing it. Yes, I’m including this version in that as well. Rahsaan’s take is daringly different take on this song is refreshing. You recognize the lyrics when he starts, but it’s when he hits the chorus when you really realize what you’re listening to and it all comes together well.
Featuring Jody Watley
Not sure how to classify this one. It’s electric, funky, and sounds like some earlier Prince work. It’s not bad, but I don’t know if it’s good or not either. Maybe I’m over-thinking it but I’ve listened to this song more than any other on the album…and I still don’t know how I feel about it or what it’s really about.
3. Crazy (Baby)
Featuring Faith Evans
Rahsaan keeps the funky bassline with him on this song, but adds some annoying tempo based sound that sounds like an alarm clock or something. It doesn’t relent, and it’s high pitched and annoying. I think it will drive you crazy…and maybe that’s the point. For the track to be a bit off the norm, different, and well…crazy? Even though the song speaks about it in a very much more direct way, I’m nearly crazy after hearing this.
4. Easier Said Than Done
Now we’re squarely in the mid 80′s with some synthed out key work and funky tempo…as a matter of fact, it makes me think of music you’d hear on the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy (I just dated myself). This song works for me though. I think the way it picks up around the minute mark wins me over. Song is dope lyrically, title says it all.
5. Stay With Me
This is, so far, the most current song on the album. The melody, presence of drums and sound overall feel really radio ready. I could hear most any of the current artists singing this one and it still being a good song. It’s the most layered and dramatically produced song on the album up to this point and may end up being my favorite on the album.
6. Miss You
I am admittedly biased when singers keep it simple and just sing. Rahsaan has one of the most unique and best voices in the game, so hearing him just do his thing, is really remarkable. So all that stuff about my favorite song I said earlier, forget about it. “Miss You” features a snap, some keys for melody, background harmony, and Rahsaan singing some love drunk lyrics…to perfection. I love this song and it’s now one of my favorite songs by Rahsaan period.
I really appreciate when he slows things down a bit and just lets his vocals do the work. The most amazing part of this song is the chorus, it almost seduces you to sway and sing along. The song lyrics almost feel like a funeral didcation. “Goodbye, my friend / till we, meet again / so long, farewell / be strong, angel”. I guess there is a bit of ambiguity in the chorus to leave it open for interpretation, but at 6:45 long it’s the most enjoyable goodbye song I’ve heard in a while.
Remember in my Jill Scott review I talked about songs where the key is off or melody is a bit tweaked on purpose…this does that too. The chorus is cool, but it’s the actual singing on the verses that are different. I really like the track, but the odd vocal choices on the verses throw me a bit.
9. Mountain Top
We get back to the foundation we were creating with the previous songs (5,6 & 7) with some more funk and great production. “Mountain Top” has a choir singing the background and Rahsaan leading this mantra that is masquerading as a song. I felt like leading an army after hearing this inspirational and powerful song. If you’re feeling down, and need something to lead you forward, this is your song.
10. Makin’ Love
The previous song really should have been the last on the album as the uptempo, electronic vibe of this song feels a bit out of place here. It doesn’t help that at about the 2.5 mark, this song goes schizophrenic and changes to a slowed down, black lights and velvet paintings kind of sound. I’m st gonna go back to the previous song and act like this one didn’t happen.
11. 6 AM
Featuring Lalah Hathaway
Lalah lends her lovely voice to another uptempo song with a nice bassline and tempo. You may have heard this on on the radio as one of the feature singles. It’s a pretty enjoyable song that I can see folks adding to playlists everywhere. As a matter of fact, let me go all the way old school here, this is a Skatejam right here…backwards skaters only! How many of y’all bout that life?
I don’t have anything negative to say about this song at all. It’s probably closer to a rock song or something if I was trying to put it in a box, but I love it immensely. I wish this would have been pushed as a single…maybe they will try to break it next. I’d love to hear this live and extended…I need to grab the vinyl just to see if they have an extended version of this.
…from that we get to this song that I don’t like at all. Techno/house type beat, check. Autotune, check. Audio aura sounds, check. I hate that this is the last song on the album too. SKIP
Like most Rahsaan albums, you get a mixed bag. He’s never afraid to experiment and give you something different. When I do track by track reviews, sometimes it detracts from the way you enjoy and hear an album. Track by track, I probably don’t like this album as much as I do when just hearing the album at once. He’s one of the most eccentric musical talents in the biz so that resonates with his personality quite well actually. He really hit his stride right in the middle of the album though and the overall feel of the album is a lot better than this review reads track by track. Pick it up
Soulections: “Only Have Eyes for You”, “Stay With Me”, “Miss You”, “Goodbye”, “Insomnia”