Hearing a cricket chirping after sunset, you feel the arrival of autumn and the end of summer. This year, we experienced an unprecedented summer. I didn’t go travel someplace far away as I usually do, but spending time relaxing in summer is a pretty new experience, and I personally think it wasn’t so bad. By the time I noticed, 2020 had already entered the second half, and I felt a little sentimental basking in the mood of the late summer, pondering that this year will soon be over. In autumn, we tend to become more sensitive to art, craving for art experiences such as books or music which nourish our heart more than usual. In this autumn period, I would like you to give CeeLo Green’s new album, CeeLo Green Is Thomas Callaway, a listen. Bittersweet yet heartful tunes gently warm your heart. CeeLo Green is an American singer-songwriter who started his career in 1995 as a member of Goodie Mob, a Southern hip hop group. After leaving the group in 2002, he made his solo debut before starting Gnarls Barkley with Danger Mouse in 2004. A worldwide hit song ‘Crazy’ (released in 2006) drew wide attention, and earned respect from not only the Hip-Hop and R&B genres, but also all other music scenes. This solo album, his first release in 5 years, was recorded with Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, who acted as creative producer. The Black Keys is an American rock band, which was formed in Ohio, in 2001, and is known for its garage and lo-fi sounds. Created by two exceptional artists; CeeLo Green, whose main style is Hip-Hop and R&B, and Dan Auerbach, a leading figure of the modern rock scene, this album is a collaboration work fusing the two music spirits which each artist creates. The cover artwork, which is reminiscent of the 70’s soul and rare-groove, is also captivating. It fulfilled my expectations with it’s soulfulness and sweet tracs full of depth, reminding me of Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Leon Ware. It is a superb album which convinces listeners that it is a soul album. Another important point is the album title, ‘Thomas Callaway’, which is CeeLo Green’s real name, and I think this element holds a big meaning, which can be described as the true nature of this album. CeeLo calls himself “Soul machine”, and this album shows his greatest talents as a singer-songwriter, who dedicated himself to Soul music. This album also has an element of gospel, which is one of CeeLo Green’s roots, and may reflect the true self of CeeLo Green as an artist.
The past few times, I have contributed to this section without having an actual vinyl in my hand due to delays on the vinyl release. But this time, for the first time in a while, I could actually write an article while listening to the vinyl. So, this album made me remember just how special it is to put the needle to a record. Most of the time, Soul is recognised as a category of Black Music, but this time, perhaps because of the collaboration with Dan Auerbach, it is seemingly presented as “Modern Soul”, a type of music that can be approached by diverse listeners without any feelings of a racial barrier. Together, with this latest masterpiece that smoothly echoes through everyone’s hearts, why don’t you spend a laid-back and flowy autumn night?
|Select & Text Mayu Kakihata||Translation Fumie Tsuji|