Frontier Psychiatrist

60-Second Review: THEESatisfaction’s awE naturalE

Posted on: April 19, 2012

THEESatisfaction - awE naturalE

There are two ways to review THEESatisfaction’s debut LP: the easy way, and the hard way.  The easy way involves using terms like “avant-rap” and “jazz-soul fusion,” making some references to outer space, and calling it a day.  The  hard way involves acknowledging that this is a record penned by a pair of romantically involved black lesbians and discussing this fact openly as it relates to the music.   I have seen precisely none of the second type, a stunning fact considering that the record includes lines like “My melanin is relevant/it’s something to be had” and “The black Jesus/which means of course he’s white.”

I attempted to write that second type of review, spending hours attempting to decipher the political content of some seriously opaque lyrics.  Whether because of inadequate intellect or lack of authorial courage, I failed in my efforts.  But, if nothing else, I leave convinced that racial identity itself is the core of this record.  One can hear this in the lyrics, but it’s reflected even more deeply in the musical content.  Indeed, this album is one of the more perfect encapuslations of the history of black music in America I can recall hearing.  Gladys Knight, Pharoah Sanders, Mos Def: they’re all on display here, blended into such a seamless mix that it’s hard to know what to call it.  Is it R&B? Soul? Hip-hop?

One might argue that the record defies labels, but in my view this is a profound error.  For this record labels itself openly: it is proudly, audaciously black, and it does not hesitate to make this clear.  Indeed, what’s important here is not why the “melanin is relevant” but that it is relevant, that it is not to be diluted with euphamism, but rather to be embraced.

And it’s pretty damn funky, too.

 

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1 Response to "60-Second Review: THEESatisfaction’s awE naturalE"

Just ordered this record!

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