I vowed to only blog about jazz. I reneged last month. I praised Seal’s latest album “Seal Soul”. Today, I want to discuss "The Way I See It," your new album. Raphael, I've watched you grow over the years. You've mastered the art of self-reinvention. With your new album, you have the spirit, the skills, and the appearance of a Motown Records singer and songwriter during the company's heyday.
“Love That Girl” was the first single I heard on “The Way I See It”. I have Sirius satellite radio. Station 51 played the single ofen. I liked it immediately because the song reminded me of the Motown sound, which is obviously inspired you.
This album arrived, it seemed, on the cusp of Motown’s 5oth anniversary. Coincidentally, I purchased “The Way I See It’ at the same time I was listening to the Definitive Collection of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Robinson is my favorite singer and songwriter, and Raphael you’re in the same league, which I’m certain most of your fans will concur, and most of your critic’s will conclude I’m nuts.
You celebrated the Motown sound by not remaking classics by the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and the Four Tops. for example. You used some of the same instrumentation, but you wrote and co-wrote new material, which I believe is much harder than being a copycat. Raphael on your album you stuck to the I-never-wants-to-let-you-go, and I-need-your-loving formula that makes a great soul album.
Songs such as “Sure Hope You Mean It,” Just One Kiss,” “Oh Girl,” and “Never Give You Up” are heartfelt. I bet the woman who was your muse you genuinely loved, and you let her know every waking moment. On this album, you show you’re a hopeless romantic at heart. The material you wrote for “The Way I See It” are not puppy love sentiments. It's seems as if you experienced each lyric firsthand. Each song is a love letter. It’s obvious you labored over each track. There isn’t one line that disparaged women, or one lyric that reduced women to booty and tits. There’s no belittling pet names like “dime piece,” shorty,” or bitch, the ultimate insult which too many of your peers use liberally.
Raphael, “The Way I See it” should be the way men should feel about women, and not be reluctant to express those feelings. Of course, their some women who’re hard to love, but that’s the exception not the norm. For the men who find it difficult to tell his ladylove how much he appreciate her, he could cuddle with her one evening and play the “Way I See It”.
Raphael you’re a topnotch songwriter. I don’t feel like a hypocrite because I deviated from my jazz only format. Occasionally, my readers deserve a change of pace.