Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Keep on Movin'," Soul II Soul (7/8/89)
I promised more breaths of fresh air, and I wasn't lyin'. Jazzie B and Nellee Hooper gatecrashed R&B worldwide with their chilled-out, oh-so-classy (which eventually helped to do them in, but I digress) Brit take on contempo soul, and this was the first salvo. Deceptively simple, this combination of the "Funky Drummer" backbeat, a gorgeous piano line, the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra's swirling strings and Caron Wheeler's ebullient lead vocal made up for far more than the sum of its parts - this represented a revolution, or at least might've had more people followed its lead. The positivity of "Keep" still shines through clear as a bell, without being cloying - and it sounds just as fresh today as it did 20 years ago. This is the practical defintion of "classic." A+

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