Brasstracks – Good Love
“Good Love” is a very, very good album. It’s almost impossible for me to pin down, but that’s not because it’s strange or genre-defying. This is an R&B renaissance album, with its roots planted firmly in the contemporary R&B of the mid-80s, with a little hedge of modern production and technical approaches surrounding it. The reason it’s difficult to pin down is that Brasstracks’ story, and all of the marketing and hype surrounding this album, miss the point of the truly special thing that’s been created here. Yes, the production is amazing. Yes, the album relies pretty heavily on its brass section to complete its sound. None of that matters.
In fact, it was on my third listen-through that I finally realized why this album resonates in me the way it does. When I was very young, I was at the whim of my father’s tastes in music. He listened to what he wanted to listen to, and since I was under his roof, I listened to what he wanted to listen to as well. And what he wanted to listen to was Anita Baker. Chaka Khan. Peabo Bryson. I knew every note from Anita Baker’s “Rapture,” practically before I could walk.
“Good Love” sounds like my childhood. That is, my childhood repackaged and repurposed as something entirely new and modern. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Sweet Love,” the one Anita Baker song every living person is guaranteed to have heard. Then listen to “I Feel For You,” the album that redefined Chaka Khan’s already brilliant career. After that, listen to this album all the way through. You won’t be able to unhear the connections and that is the best feeling there is. The vocals are different, the synths are modern, and the production is tighter; but the bones of this album represent decades of R&B history.
This album may be nostalgic for you if you’re over the age of 25 and your parents had excellent taste in music. Or it may be a revelation that prompts you to deepen your music library. Or it may just be a great jolt of fun for you. Whatever the reason, “Good Love” is worthy of your time and appreciation.