I am probably one of the only people left on earth that still buy CDs. I can see why they’re going out of style. Why buy one CD when you have almost every song ever made at your nasty little fingertips? But, it’s something about holding a CD case in your hand and taking the liner notes out and seeing if there’s a poster folded up or finding out a little fun fact about the creation of the album that’s sacred to me. I promise I’m writing this for a reason by the way. Back in 2015 when this album came out I frequently went to Best Buy with my allowance money to buy CDs. At the time I didn’t have spotify premium and that ad shit was getting annoying. (Quick side-note for all my spotify users: Remember that one ad for premium where it would be a guy with a loud ass voice? “HEY! SO UM HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU AND I UH–” and then this lady with an even louder voice would come in like: “LOST FOR WORDS? SAY IT WITH A SONG!” I swear every time I heard that I almost just wanted to close out of the app.) So, at the time Alabama Shakes had a special Best Buy Exclusive Version of Sound & Color that came in this big ass box, and of course that caught my attention. But I had no idea who they were, plus with the name Alabama Shakes it sounded like some redneck country shit. Then I went home and looked them up and found out that the lead singer, Brittany Howard, is Black! Instantly I turned it on and I was blown away.
The first track Sound & Color sounded like some outer space exploration type shit. I was not expecting it at all. Then Brittany’s super unique voice comes in and grabs your full attention. Then towards the end they pull out my kryptonite: A dope ass string arrangement! I’m such a sucker for them, it’s kinda ridiculous. No other song sounds like this song on the album, and at first I thought that was kinda weird. Compared to the other songs on this album Sound & Color is right here, and the other ones are like all the way the fuck over there. The other songs are more rock and blues-focused a great example is one of my favorite songs Future People. Fuck, it starts off all slow, but you can tell it’s building up to something. Then the chorus comes in and that bass kicks in and Brittany’s voice is howling and shit! Whew! Shit is infectious man. The energy that this song radiates is pure optimism and hope for the future. It’s great. Oh, and that piano comes in and bro is just hitting one key over and over, but it sounds so grandiose (big word btw) with all the other elements joining in with it. Just a great song. Gemini is fire too. It’s so minimal, but it gets the job done. You listen to the lyrics and they’re about the type of unconditional love siblings have for each other as kids, then as they grow up and far apart they start to see the true nature of each other. That’s already heavy enough, then that guitar comes in and fuck man it’ll bring a tear to your eye.
I fully did not expect myself to enjoy this album as much as I do, but this shit is beautiful. It definitely opened my ears up a little bit more in the process. Before this album I flat out hated country music or anything that sounded like it, but after running this back over and over I can tolerate it. Being from Nashville you have to learn to do that anyways. Fun fact: The last song on the album Over My Head was the only song not recorded in Nashville. This why buying CDs is cool to me because you not finding that anywhere else, but in the liner notes.
Listen to Sound & Color Here
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