Give It a Listen: D’Angelo and Esme Patterson

I’m sure you guys have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve written an original article for the section. This is due to a new job where I don’t have much time to write. Because of this I have found less time to listen out for new music; this has directly slowed down the release of the Give It a Listen articles. However, I finally have some time to search for some new music and here’s what I suggest you give a listen this week.

Esme Patterson – What Do You Call a Woman

First up is Denver singer-songwriter Esme Patterson. She has released a new single titled ‘What Do You Call a Woman’ from the upcoming Woman to Woman which will be released in February 2015. The concept of the album is to be the woman’s answer to many popular songs throughout time, that have been sung about one woman. With ‘What Do You Call a Woman’ Patterson takes on Billie Jean.

If you don’t remember who Billie Jean is, she was the title of a famous Michael Jackson song about a paternity dispute. When she was asked about the song, Patterson said the following.

‘Michael Jackson’s song ‘Billie Jean’ had always really bothered me. It’s this slick pop hit by an artist that people worship, in which he literally says ‘the kid is not my son,’ even though he admits ‘his eyes were like mine,’ and he admits he followed her to her room, tacitly confirming they had slept together. And I was wondering how this woman would feel, how angry and abandoned.’

Those emotions come across perfectly in ‘What Do You Call a Woman’. Esme’s voice is light and angelic, but there is an unmistakable sense of pain and anger in her voice. She immediately calls out the legend, asking him what does he call a woman who’s lying in his bed. She then breaks down the lies saying ‘if you make love, isn’t she your lover’ before answering the question.

The song is heavily influenced by both folk music and the rebellious rock sound of the 1970s and 1980s. The combination perfectly complement Patterson. The folk influence calms the beat and exemplifies the pain while the rock influence ensures the listeners know that Patterson (or in this case Billie Jean) is not down for the bullshit.

If you love concept albums, you will love this song. The song is creative and real, and listeners will finally get the other side to the Billie Jean story.

Skinny Lister – Trouble On Oxford Street

Next up is Skinny Lister, a six-piece band from England, who re-emerged with a bang with the release of ‘Trouble On Oxford Street’. The song has folk elements with the ‘fuck everything’ attitude of punk rock.

The song details a night of debauchery, with the lead singer telling a story about a melee on Oxford Street. The band brings so much energy to the song that even the most uptight and upright of citizens will be mad they missed it; the song is also radio-friendly. The beat and instrumentation is something that could easily help the song become a huge hit.

If you’re not familiar with Skinny Lister, now is the time to get familiar as they will definitely be a band to watch.

D’Angelo – Sugah Daddy

Last, but definitely not least, is the first release from D’Angelo in 14 years. Ever since he appeared in GQ Magazine back in Summer 2012, fans have been antsy to hear new music from the R&B crooner who was known for hits such as ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’.

Well, it came last week with ‘Sugah Daddy’ off of Black Messiah. It’s a tale of D’Angelo striking a deal with a woman at her behest; he will be her sugar daddy and in return, he’ll get… well, I think you already know. The song is an interesting turn for the singer. While longtime fans will be able to recall certain elements like the way D’Angelo spins stories about pursuing sex with women, something seems different. This go ’round, the lyrics are bolder and much more explicit (go to the end of the song to catch what I mean). While D’Angelo has detailed his problems with being considered a sex symbol and the trouble it’s caused him, he seems to have finally made peace with his role. It actually seems like he is finally having some fun with it.

Also in true D’Angelo fashion, the song is recorded in a way that makes the listener feel like they were in the studio, juke joint, or whatever venue the singer decided to unveil this song in. He creates a sense of being sung too individually; this is what the singer did with Voodoo in 2000.

D’Angelo’s album debuted this past Monday, and I admittedly haven’t had the time to sit and listen to it all the way through. However, every album seems to have a theme and be a snapshot of where D’Angelo is at a certain point in his life, and it’ll be interesting to see where his mind and music is now that the dust has settled after years of troubles.

https://soundcloud.com/dangelomusicofficial/sugah-daddy