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A Change Is Gonna Come

Leela James

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Album Review

"Music," the first song and lead single from Leela James' first album, bemoans the death of music. She reminisces about Aretha, Gladys, Tina, and Chaka, and asks, "Can we just put the thongs away?" Her argument is flawed and tired. All four inspirations released new material during the early 2000s, and James is the latest in an extended line of artists, stretching from American Idol to any anonymous keyboard lounge on the East Coast, claiming to rescue real music. James should turn off BET and go to a record store: issue solved. The remainder of A Change Is Gonna Come — named after the Sam Cooke song, covered here — isn't nearly as nauseating, thankfully enough, even if it retains a nostalgic tint. James has the stature of a woman who should possess a squeaky voice, but she sings with demonstrative grit. More importantly, she doesn't see her inspirations merely as artists to mimic; she sees how they learned from the past and applied it to the present. The past is built upon (if only a little), rather than simply revisited. Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, Chucky Thompson, and James Poyser are in on the action, giving James the kind of apt support she could've only imagined prior to recording the album. There's plenty of thematic range, whether there are blue lights in the basement, tears on the pillow, sweat on the dancefloor, or sun showers on the porch. Hopefully listeners won't hear all those names during "Music" and get the idea to listen to Lady Soul or Ask Rufus instead.

Customer Reviews

Leela James - True Artist

Amazing. Love every one of her songs, when it first came out and still today. True classic artist. Very surprising how someone with such an amazing voice and way of delivering her art if not more know. Looking forward to seeing from Leela James.

Can't stop listening to this

I want to listen to this right between John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding. This woman is worth listening to over and over and over. You will not get sick of this album. So happy I found what I needed.

Biography

Born: June 02, 1983 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Like almost all other musicians hit with the neo-soul tag, the primary inspirations of Leela James — a gritty-voiced singer and songwriter born in Los Angeles, California — dated no later than the late '70s; Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner were regularly cited. Her debut album, very much a throwback affair, involved assistance from a range of noted studio rats from the fields of rap and R&B, including Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, James Poyser, Chucky Thompson, and Wyclef...
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A Change Is Gonna Come, Leela James
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