Anthony David – As Above So Below

Release Date: 22 March 2011
Label: 100% WOMON

Tracklist:

  1. As Above so Below
  2. Let Me In
  3. 4evermore [MV]
  4. Reach Ya
  5. God Said [MV]
  6. Everybody Wants to Rule the World
  7. Girlfriend
  8. Keep You Around
  9. Body Language
  10. Getaround
  11. As Above so Below (Outro)
  12. Backstreet

The album starts like daybreak, the first notes of title track As Above So Below creeping over the horizon and bringing the dawn. It’s a pleasant revelation in R&B, something unexpected and refreshing in the overwhelming popularity of recycled beats and loops. It also steers clear of the obvious neo-soul angle and simply breathes the album to life.

The rest of the album balances expectation with nuance quite delicately, brimming on cliché with songs like Let Me In, Keep You Around, and Getaround, but then bringing modern sound to a new level of musical appreciation with songs like Girlfriend and Body Language.

Even with a voice that’s all soul and caressing roughness, David manages to surprise and enlighten. Two of the standout tracks on this album may also seem the most misplaced. His reflection on the hypocrisy of organized religion, God Said, is as literal an intepretation of the phrase the poet is political as one can possibly get without it becoming literary theory. It’s snarling, brimming with almost vitriolic sarcasm. What may seem preachy is also surprisingly chilling when coupled with David’s rugged vocal delivery.

His next turn for the unexpected comes in the form of a ballsy cover of an 80s classic. David takes on the Tears for Fears anthem Everybody Wants to Rule the World, enlisting the help of Boyz II Men falsetto Shawn Stockton. It’s at first tempting to overlook the cover, especially if your idea of R&B is set in stone. However, the track is “accurate”, meaning it doesn’t take too many liberties while remaining completely David’s. The earnestness of the message remains intact and the integrity of the vocals gives the classic freshness.

This album is a testament to the spirit of chance, dare, and risk. On the one hand, we have an album that’s what anyone would expect from any R&B artist trying to “break the mold”; however, it’s so much more when one scratches the painful sore of the surface. Looking beyond the horizon and soaking in the sunset of the outro, one can’t help but feel the tug of something incredible — a pull like the moon bringing in the tide.

Stoundout Tracks: As Above So Below, 4evermore, God Said, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Girlfriend, Body Language

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

You can find the tracks at Xiami. | If you like it, buy it at Amazon.

Camiele

As unexpected as my path was to loving all things weird, more unexpected is my ability to get attention for writing about the stuff.

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