Soccorro - Love’s Experience (2007)

Soccorro
Soccorro_album.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase
If an idealized image for this soul music movement exists, it would probably be the lone artist strumming away on a guitar accompanied by an upright bass and a piano. They might let you get away with using a electric keyboard - provided its one of those old Hammond organs or a Moog synthesizer. Of course, that archetype is as much image as it is reality. A modestly dressed singer or somebody wearing kinte sends a subtle message about the performer's artistry, lyricism or whatever - or at least that's what a lot or record executives think. But every singer wearing a head wrap ain't Erkayh Badu and every artist pictured with a guitar on the CD cover ain't Anthony David. Likewise, the presence of a drum machine doesn't mean a musician is making copy cat, bubble gum R&B. The Georgia born singer Soccorro makes the case that the tools of modern pop music making can be put to use to make good soul and R&B music on her album Love's Experience.
If an idealized image for this soul music movement exists, it would probably be the lone artist strumming away on a guitar accompanied by an upright bass and a piano. They might let you get away with using a electric keyboard - provided its one of those old Hammond organs or a Moog synthesizer. Of course, that archetype is as much image as it is reality. A modestly dressed singer or somebody wearing kinte sends a subtle message about the performer's artistry, lyricism or whatever - or at least that's what a lot or record executives think. But every singer wearing a head wrap ain't Erkayh Badu and every artist pictured with a guitar on the CD cover ain't Anthony David. Likewise, the presence of a drum machine doesn't mean a musician is making copy cat, bubble gum R&B. The Georgia born singer Soccorro makes the case that the tools of modern pop music making can be put to use to make good soul and R&B music on her album Love's Experience.

Love's Experience is not a perfect album. A couple of songs in the middle of the CD, "Friends" and "Stay Encouraged," don't measure up to the quality on the rest of the album. It's not that they are terrible songs, it's just that they interrupt the flow of the narrative Soccorro has going on the rest of  the disc, which tells the story of the hopeful beginning, conflict in the middle and devastating ending of a relationship, as well as the protagonists efforts to pick up the pieces.

Love's Experience works best when Soccorro stays true to the narrative. The disc has a contemporary, radio friendly sound. A song like "Tell Me" has a mellow feel that could make it a fixture on adult radio stations and stations geared toward younger listeners. The standout track, however, is "Whatcha Gon' Be," in which Soccorro expresses frustration that the man with whom she is involved can't seem to decide where he wants the relationship to go. The lyrics give the song an old-school feel even as those programmed drums give "Whatcha Gon' Be" a beat that will go easy on young ears. "Watcha Gon' Be" also has the one element that any modern R&B song must have - a catchy hook.  And "Are you my man/Are you my friend/Don't need another one of them/Can you tell me what the deal is/Cuz I ain't feelin' this," ranks right up there with Beyonce's "to the left."

Soccorro channels her inner Toni Braxton on the next two songs, "The Truth" and "Too Late." Another standout is the up-tempo song "Let's Go Dancing." This is the song where Soccorro goes clubbing with her girlfriends to forget her problems. That inevitably leads to "Get To Know You," a nice mid-tempo tune that would have been even better without the guest rap. Whenever an artist puts one of the rap interludes in a song, I usually mute the rap part to see if the song would be just as good without it.

Soccorro is clearly an artist who rejects the belief that using technology condemns music to sounding overproduced or mechanical. Soccorro isn't using technology to hide lyrics that are cliché or a substandard singing voice. Soccorro grew up with this technology, and she clearly has the skill and confidence to make all those bells and whistles work to her advantage.

By Howard Dukes

 
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"
Featured Album - David Porter - The Classics
Album of the Month - Cool Million - "Stronger"
Song of the Month - Ascendant - "Gotta Get Up"

Leave a comment!