Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hall & Oates and the Damage Done

White soul. Some say it's an oxymoron. But don't get locked in a prison of attitude and cliche, my brothers and sisters. While British electronica white person Jamie Lidell has been accused of being a bad karaoke act, I think there's something serious here to be contended with, a real intimacy with funk nuance. The man's a lover, not a hater. His clearest antecedent is early Robert Palmer, before the mannequin videos and cut-out-bin hits, back when RP had a crack backup band made up of members of the Meters and Little Feat. Lidell is usually his own one-man band, pumping out the bleeps, blips and bloopity-blop from a deck of electro-gadgets, but here he's got real live people sampling the spirit of early Prince, Marvin Gay, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, all the classic stankonia, like a tastemaster who happens to have very, very passable pipes and an uncannily slinky groove. He's what Justin Timberlake might sound like if he was his own producer, had never set foot in LA and could also sing (as it stands, Timberlake is more like a hood ornament for Timbaland).

How to explain the umbrella, I have no idea.

What's the Use - Jamie Lidell

When I Come Back Around - Jamie Lidell

Multiply - Jamie Lidell

Game of Fools - Jamie Lidell

Some People Can Do What They Like - Robert Palmer

Postscript: Oh hell. I guess I gotta to raise the stakes with Robin Thicke, since the man's got a new album out in October. You can sample it here. I suggest you listen closely to the lyrics of his forthcoming hit "Wanna Love U Girl." Thicke is turning out to be the white man's R. Kelly. Hopefully he can catch a break with Timberlake dominating the tiny patch of popular real estate reserved for oxymoron music.

Postscript II: That this exists needs to be shouted from the rooftops: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Darryl Hall & John Oates, Part One.

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