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Even Closer

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Album Review

Even Closer is a reworked version of Goapele's limited release debut, Closer, with five additional songs: "Ease Your Mind" (featuring Pep Love), "Got It," "The Daze" (featuring Zion I and Casual), "Back to You," and "Red, White & Blues" (an anti-war song featuring a blistering guitar solo by Errol Cooney). It showcases Goapele's sultry, cascading voice with relatively sparse vocal arrangements and the contributions of producers such as Amp Live, Jeff Bhasker, Eric Krasno, and Mike Tiger, who help create a smooth, tasty mixture of soul, hip-hop, jazz, and occasional touches of other styles. Goapele navigates this potpourri quite adeptly, although the album does tread a thin line between appealingly eclectic and insufficiently cohesive; fortunately, she has enough talent, including a sufficiently distinctive vocal personality, to pull it off. The words tend toward lyrical and enigmatic, but occasionally they are effectively straightforward and to the point (e.g., "'Cause you're so f**k'n romantic/I can't stand it" from "Romantic"); Goapele also manages to tackle social/political issues without getting too preachy. However, some may wish her social protest lyrics were less vague and more incisive; also, the album isn't replete with clever wordplay and the rhymes tend to be conventional combinations such as "friend"/"end" and "same"/"blame." Nonetheless, this album is worth a listen if you enjoy contemporary soul.


Born: July 11, 1977 in Oakland, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born Goapele Mohlabane in Oakland, CA, this singer grew up in a socially conscious and politically active family. Her mother married South African political exile Douglas Mohlabane while studying in Nairobi, Kenya. At an early age, Goapele attended the Berkeley Arts Magnet School where she led a pre-teen peer support group. She also became involved in various groups and organizations that combated racism and sexism. It would be these extroverted activities that assisted her singing career as she...
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Even Closer, Goapele
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