In case you haven't noticed, it's all about the throwback these days; from hairdo's, fashions and imported 'blue-eyed soul,' what was once 'recycled' is now considered 'refreshing,' and you can't help but feel a sense of dÃ©jÃ vu when you hear Little Jackie. Comprised of music programmer Adam Pallin (Tom Jones, Elliot Yamin) and the eclectic multi-talented songwriter/recording artist Imani Coppola ("Legend of a Cowgirl"), the duo combined their energies with producer Michael Mangini (Digable Planets) and have created one of this year's most exuberant and provocative releases, serving up a spirited mix of pop, soul and biting edges of hip-hop.
Anyone familiar with Imani Coppola knows that she's no shrinking violet, and please believe that her tenuous background as a bi-racial child in a large, artistic, but impoverished family in Long Island, NY seeps through The Stoop's material. It may come across as straight-forward pop at first, since the tracks are crisp, sparkling and full of melody, but the songs are laced with biting observations about love and life and, occasionally, are peppered with expletives. Ms. Coppola doesn't mince words when it comes to her block (the confrontational title track), her less-than-ideal early years ("Go Hard or Go Home") and even why she can't be bothered with true love (the gleefully snarky "The World Should Revolve Around Me"). There's even the terrifically twisted doo-wop flavored "Liked You Better Before," where she admits that her personality has negatively affected a significant other and that she enjoyed his once-gentlemen-like ways ("I liked you better before you knew me, didn't smoke cigarettes, didn't drink coffee. Drank moderately, now you're an alky"). Since Ms. Coppola keeps her vocals as glib and glittery as the music, some listeners might have to pause and rewind time and again to fully appreciate the verbal barbs she's hurling around.
Does she save this sarcasm just for herself? Of course not. If you're too through with attention-starved, marginally talented and perpetually drunk/high celebutantes (insert any top starlet of choice here), there's the moody "Black Barbie" ("I'm just like black Barbie, the life of the party/I light up the TV, arrested for d-wi"), and for those the anti-NYers, there's "Cryin' For The Queen," with a track so Motown-influenced that you can literally picture her swiveling sequin-clad hips and rocking a beehive.
If the majority of today's color-by-numbers music leaves you lethargic, then consider Little Jackie's The Stoop a shot of caffeine for your senses. It is witty, empowered, and will definitely get the party started all summer long.
By Melody Charles