Alibi V.19 No.16 • April 22-28, 2010 

Sonic Reducer

Erykah Badu New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh (Universal Motown Records)

If New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War) is the cynical side to Erykah Badu’s psyche, then New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh is the lighter, more amorous side. The video for the first single, “Window Seat,” has stirred up plenty of controversy with Badu ending up naked walking down a street and then shot. However, that does not set the tone for the rest of the album. In fact, it’s full of up-tempo, soulful beats propelled by Badu’s inimitable voice. Highlights “Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)” and “Umm Hmm” evoke a sunny, sexy day. (KE)

The Doors When You're Strange (Songs From The Motion Picture) (Rhino Records)

If I hadn’t been gifted a copy of the book Break On Through as a 14-year-old, I may never have been exposed to Rimbaud and Huxley, which could’ve thwarted the passion for literature I’ve had ever since. But 15 years and a whole lot of music and poetry later, hearing the dated music of The Doors and the mediocre poetry of Jim Morrison (as read by Johnny Depp) on the soundtrack to yet another film about The Doors just isn’t exciting. When You’re Strange might be a cool documentary, with rare footage and a focus on Morrison as a poet, but (unlike the unearthing of new Hendrix tracks) there’s really nothing musically new to experience here. (AP)

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings I Learned the Hard Way (Daptone Records)

Sharon Jones’ richly emotive voice, backed by the Dap-Kings’ bona fide funky soul, is stronger than ever on her fourth full-length. The 53-year-old Augusta, Ga. native’s voice has hints of the great ladies of the late ’60s without sounding put-on or derivative. ILTHW feels slightly mellower than the previous release 100 Days, 100 Nights but is just as tight, slowly unwinding its warm spool of grooves. (For added cool points, the entire album was recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine at Daptone Records’ House of Soul studios.) It’s impossible not to sway when this record is on. (SO)

(KE) Kyle Eustice, (AP) Adam Perry, (SO) Summer Olsson