Album: Love Behind the Melody
Artist: Raheem DeVaughn
Genre: Soul and R&B
Welcome to my very first Moooo-sic to My Ears Post! This is guaranteed to be a great series because I’m only reviewing music (also called Moooo-sic in Bovinglish) that I absolutely love. No BS – and trust me, I know way too much about BS (what do you expect – I’m a freaking bull). But enough about that, Let’s do a deep dive into my experience with this album, what makes this album great, and why you need to stop everything that you’re doing, find the nearest exit –if this means jumping out of a window or breaking through a wall, so be it – and pick up this CD (or however you acquire music) immediately.
First a little background: Raheem is from the Maryland/DC area. He has been on the grind hustling to make a name for himself for a cool ass minute. His first major release under a major label (he had several independent releases before signing to Jive records) The Love Experience, is a great intro into the witty, smooth and soulful grooves that Raheem can provide to you on a daily basis to put you in a good mood. It has been my experience as of late, that, in general Album #1 knocks, Album #2 is ok, but sucks worse than album #1, and Album #3 is a rebirth into the greatness that we have seen in album #1 (Sorry Kanye, Album #2 was ok, but you set the bar so damn high with album #1; Then you came back with Album #3 and almost put 50 Cent into retirement, now THAT is gangsta).
I first heard Raheem quite by accident as I was in the DC area in the summer of 2k5 and was listening to the radio while my friend Yvette was Tokyo Drifting around every corner on the way to someplace that I can’t remember (probably because I was busy holding on for dear life). Then Raheem came on, and I started to feel a little better. Isn’t it crazy how music can do that to you? Well I decided to cop that CD (yes I actually bought a real live CD – It’s good to support artist who make good music, but by all means feel free to download garbage any way you please) as soon as I got home.
Fast forward to 3 years later, and the release of his newest album totally flew under my radar. It wasn’t until I had to drive 8 hours up to a graduation with my friend Shan, that I was re-introduced to what is damn near guaranteed to be my favorite R&B album of 2008. We listened to this album, on repeat the entire ride – 8 hours up, and 8 hours back. Yeah it’s that dope.
Let’s do a blow by blow recap on each of the songs, look for a as an indicator of my absolute favorites:
This is the high energy crescendo indicator that immediately lets you know that this album is nothing to be trifled with. What’s that you say? You only have 30 min of juice left on your ipod? Well maybe you should just wait, because after note 1 you are guaranteed to be riveted. This is a solid intro! The R&B Hippie / Neo Soul Rock star is guaranteed to rock your eardrums right out of your head… And if you conceive a baby with your old lady to track #7, as he claims you might, well I wouldn’t be surprised
Generally I don’t listen to the radio. I am a picky music listener, and if I have to listen to hours of commercials, G-unit, Soulja Boy and Birdman (coooo cooo) just to get to a good song, then I’ll pass. But every once in a while, a radio hit is actually deserving of a spin or two on the 1’s and 2’s of your favorite station. In Woman Raheem outlines what he appreciates about women, why he loves women and why a strong woman is something we all should be looking for.
Now if you haven’t gotten the hint yet, Mr. Devaughn is big on crooning about LOVE! Anyone who has been in love before knows how you can get sooo wrapped up in that person – to the point where you loose friends, miss phone calls, forget important dates, and totally be addicted. Just like he says, it’s a drug that you can’t kick, and if you’re lucky, it’s a two way street. Damn, Raheem, that’s what’s up.
Now we get to the first of one of the more upbeat jams on this jam intensive album. I hear you saying “But Raheem likes to sing slow songs, surely he knows nothing about being upbeat”… Well prepare to have your face rocked off folks. This joint is a great example of the vocal range that Raheem really has, and how his songs just simply flow, making them immediately-sing-with-able (yeah I made that up, and I know you know what I mean). Wrap all that up and drop in a cameo from Outkast’s Big Boi and you got yourself one hell of a song.
Friday (Shut the Club Down)
Ok folks, This song is the new end of the week Anthem. If you haven’t heard it yet, please slap yourself. I’ll wait.
In this track, Raheem has sampled The Temptations: My Girl. But you have never ever ever ever heard it rocked like this. This song speaks to the heart and soul of the weekend. To everyone who has worked a long ass week, when the only light at the end of the tunnel is 5:00pm Friday Afternoon, Raheem has the perfect song for you. Cause if you aren’t shutting the club down on Friday night (aka Saturday Morning), then you probably didn’t work hard enough.
Ladies, are you prepared to get served? Well let’s get you some service… after all, you are the customer. Raheem, in his infinite desire to express his love, is serving cats in ways that Omarion and his dance crew only wish that they could do. This song reeks of passion and game. Raheem, you did it again!
Slow and Fast together at last! This song just eases out of the speakers and slides up in your eardrums. He really takes his time, but don’t think that this lovely love ballad is without beat, cause when the hook drops, you are in for a surprise. I don’t wanna ruin it, but damn when you talk about crooning – he has the market on lock. Case closed!
Woman I Desire – Interlude
One hell of an interlude/spoken word piece. There is good music, but there is no good-bye… so I’mma kiss that ass hello. Mmmmmm Mmmmm good.
Now that you’ve been prepped by track 8, you’d think that you’d be ready for track 9…nope! Raheem really grit&grinds this one out. It’s almost haunting how he is able to really get those notes just absolutely perfectly right. Desire is not something to be taken lightly
Midnight - Interlude
Well Midnight is the new witching hour, and if you’re in the mood for a baby-making interlude, well look no further.
Now that you’re in baby-making mood, be prepared for a marathon. That’s right – as the seconds turn to minutes and the minutes to hours and time just keeps elapsing it is ON! This is some toes curled, frizzy hair, pillow doused in sweat, bodies intertwined and tangled getting it. That’s what I’m talking about!
Pull over Floetry and Michael Jackson. Raheem has KILLED the butterfly genre. This is a song for the shy folks out there. Like when you have that one person, that totally puts you off center. You can’t talk, you start to sweat, you can’t think of one witty thing to say and you discover why they call that feeling in your stomach “butterflies”. And when you’re like me and have 4 stomachs, well it just takes on a whole new meaning.
She's Not You
Have you ever broken off a relationship only to realize afterwards that she is now the standard of measurement that you are using when judging everyone? Raheem really captures what it feels like to realize that no one will compare to his truest love, weather she be a Maria or a Suzanne. It’s amazing how he just really captures exactly what is going on here.
Can We Try Again – Interlude
Now usually Interludes just get in the way of listening to real songs. But don’t get caught slippin here. The vocal range – highs and lows that are exhibited here send a chill up and down the spine.
Breaking up to make up? Tis a tried-and-true lament of R&B artists throughout time. But here Raheem really kills it once again. This is a really detailed description of his experience. I mean he really paints a picture of what he’s going through here to help you understand why he would even want to try again. I really believe that he was going through hell without her. I wonder if he she ever agreed…
You gotta love this jam. I mean it’s reminiscent of a Dru Hill track that I can barely remember. Imagine not being able to be with the one you love. How would you feel inside, like way deep down inside? If you answered “Empty” then yeah, you really get it.
Four Letter Word
In this time of Bombs, shooting, killing and 4 letter explicatives, this is a return to a 4 letter word that we should spend more time focusing on. It sure would make me happier if we did. It’s that old 4 letter word.. L-O-V-E
Thank you Raheem, you killed it. Now if only we didn’t have to wait another 3 years until Album #3….