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A Change Is Gonna Come

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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

Album Review

Is it me, or is the Album Review above a little spiky? Regardless, let me not judge the album reviewer, but judge the album. There have been so, so many covers of 'A change is gonna come', my favourite (before this) being by Aaron Neville, but Leela has pipped Aaron to the post. Her voice sounds like a female version of Anthony Hamilton (early days and not the dreadful commercial reggae track he did - forgive me, but it insults reggae), depicting joy and pain (no pun to Maze) in a gravelly, deep soulful way. Not all the tracks hit the right buttons with me, but most do.

I love this album

I got this album ages ago, glad to see itunes have caught up. Its brilliant. Standout tracks are -Music -Ghetto -Soul Food -When You Love Somebody -Don't Speak -My Joy -Didn't I -A Change is Gonna Come -Long Time Coming The other tracks are pretty good too, but those are my faves. Way better than anything Beyonce etal are making, its not sugarcoated RnB. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who like Jill Scott or Erykah Badu.

One of the best soul albums of the 00's

Every track on this album is good quality. It has a good mix of silky mellow tunes such as Music and A Change Is Gonna Come to the more upbeat sounds of Didnt I and Ghetto. Its good to see that real soul music has not gone. Thank goodness for modern greats like James who are keeping it alive! Bring on the next album!


Born: 02 June 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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