8} Raphael Saadiq : Stone Rollin’
Heavily retro stylings in pop music can be an iffy proposition. For every Amy Winehouse there are a hundred lifeless, empty 60s soul re-treaders. For every Yeasayer there are a hundred nauseatingly ironic 80s synth pop bands. Simple imitation and inventive homage are very different things. Raphael Saadiq strolled smoothly into the latter category with his amped-up Motown album The Way I See It, and he does even better with a sexy, earth tone palette of early 70s soul on Stone Rollin’. If you can get as close to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions as Saadiq does on this record, then you can be as retro as you wanna’ be. He doesn’t rip off Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield. He sews his own fly-ass velvet pimp suit from scratch, re-carpets his studio in rust colored wall-to-wall shag, finds a big, fat outdated microphone, fuzzing and glowing with analog ambience, and sings his got-damned heart out.