Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2008 : 20 "The Healer" by Erykah Badu

I wasn't actually a huge fan of Erykah Badu's 2008 album New Amerykah—but this track, "The Healer," was, to my mind, the single most invigorating piece of music the year had to offer. Badu's decision to marry the concepts of healing and pop music isn't in and of itself very interesting: any number of lesser talents could take those two ideas and emerge with a garden-variety homily about the enduring power of music. The greatness of this track comes from Badu's decision to use this framework as a structure into which to jam all sorts of left-field weirdness, ending up with a salvo that's a deeply compelling mish-mash of metaphysics, resistance politics, science fiction, and what may or may not be pure nonsense:

"We ain't dead," said the children
Don't believe it
We just made ourselves invisible
Underwater stove top blue flame
Come out with your scales up

The lyrical content is a great fit with Madlib's stoned-sounding production, last appreciated on this blog here.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: Erykah Badu >> "The Healer"

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