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Soul - Released September 28, 2010 | Stones Throw Records

All the promise of his debut comes true on Aloe Blacc’s sophomore release, Good Things, a vintage sound meets modern problems release with a way too modest title. Right from the opening “I Need a Dollar” -- which could be passed off as unreleased Bill Withers, no problem -- the album offers grand things, providing listeners with that solid, but not polarizing, style of social commentary Withers perfected. On the following cut, positivity is pushed (“Something special happened today/I got green lights all the way”) in a manner that’s far from sugary, but this singer who offers such warmth and humility on his smooth soul tracks is well aware of sin, and can get slinky in a Al Green style when warning against loose women on “Hey Brother.” An even better example of this is his cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” which becomes much more than a clever choice, thanks to a convincing performance that suggests he’s been there. The organic production, real horns and all, is left up entirely to the Truth & Soul Productions crew (Jeff Dynamite and Leon Michels) but Blacc’s delivery is less traditional with phrasing and some slang left over from when he was a 24-7 rapper. Anyone with a taste for neo-soul should try Good Things unique flavor. It comes on familiar and comfortable and becomes more rich and rewarding with every return visit. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 14, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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Pop - Released May 11, 2018 | Interscope

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R&B - To be released October 2, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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Pop - Released January 1, 2014 | Interscope

Like fellow retro-minded rapper-turned-singer Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc moved from the revered independent Stones Throw to a major label, but he did so after one of his singles -- 2010's "I Need a Dollar" -- went Top Ten in ten territories. Between the song's unlikely rise and an Interscope contract, Aloe co-wrote and fronted Avicii's peculiar folk-EDM hybrid "Wake Me Up," an even bigger hit. Thankfully, Lift Your Spirit doesn't attempt to capitalize on the success of the Avicii collaboration, unless the zero-percent EDM version of "Wake Me Up," placed third on the U.S. album, is factored. Just as Hawthorne's major-label debut presented his throwback sound with sanded surfaces, this set does have some contemporary sheen. Compared to Good Things, it sounds like its making was much more considered and laborious. That goes more for the material and productions than for Aloe's everyman voice, still redolent of a young and optimistic Bill Withers with an old soul. It remains as easy on the ears as a worn pair of slippers on the feet. Aloe co-produced all but three of the songs, with veteran DJ Khalil involved with all but two of them. Several cuts -- dance party numbers "Can You Do This" and "Chasing," the hat-on-heart ballad "Red Velvet Seat," and the exultant, Elton John-referencing "The Man," boosted by a gospel choir -- are spiffier spins on Aloe's earlier soul stylings. More surprising, "Here Today" trails "Wake Me Up" with more folky platitudes, this time with a stadium "all together now" chorus, while "The Hand Is Quicker" has a blues edge. One cut made with Pharrell Williams, "Love Is the Answer," takes no time to slip into an easy disco-funk groove and fits into the album with its sunny outlook and elegant horns and strings. The lone song with a sentiment that can't be summarized by the album's title, "Ticking Bomb" ("The whole world's sitting on a ticking bomb, so keep your calm and carry on"), doesn't seem right within the sequence but is a career highlight. The album's content is otherwise reflected in the title. It could use more of that grit heard in the earlier releases. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 11, 2017 | Interscope

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Soul - Released May 30, 2006 | Stones Throw Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 29, 2019 | Aloe Blacc Recordings, Inc.

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Pop - Released February 14, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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R&B - Released June 26, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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Pop - Released August 24, 2017 | Interscope

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R&B - Released November 25, 2016 | Interscope

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Pop - Released March 8, 2018 | Interscope

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Pop - Released August 12, 2016 | Interscope

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Pop - Released January 29, 2015 | Interscope

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 9, 2018 | Aloe Blacc Recordings, Inc.

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Pop - Released December 11, 2015 | Interscope

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Dance - Released July 27, 2018 | Interscope

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Pop - Released May 8, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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R&B - To be released October 2, 2020 | BMG Rights Management GmbH