Sulpacio Jones - Funky Love (2017)

Sulpacio Jones
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Sulpacio Jones - Funky Love

The mindset of R&B music has changed in the three or four years, and Sulpacio Jones’ decision to make “Better Way” the lead single from her latest EP Funky Love is emblematic of that evolving mindset. “Better Way” is, for all intents and purposes, a protest song, Protest songs have a long and honored place in black music. In fact, what many consider to be the greatest album of the ‘rock’ era, What’s Going On, is a protest record.

Sulpacio Jones - Funky Love

The mindset of R&B music has changed in the three or four years, and Sulpacio Jones’ decision to make “Better Way” the lead single from her latest EP Funky Love is emblematic of that evolving mindset. “Better Way” is, for all intents and purposes, a protest song, Protest songs have a long and honored place in black music. In fact, what many consider to be the greatest album of the ‘rock’ era, What’s Going On, is a protest record.

In recent years, R&B hasn’t been where listeners went to hear protest music. Hip hop sported plenty of artists willing to speak truth to power, and R&B seemed content to cede that ground to the rappers and focus on music for the club or the quiet storm. And while there have always been indie soul artists willing to create protest music, mainstream artists were more reluctant to do so. That started to change in the last decade because artists see what’s happening in their communities and in the world and it affects them deeply.

That might explain why Jones leads with “Better Way,” a mid-tempo funk tune and the accompanying video that switches between scenes of the singer walking through a city scape and news footage of protests, civil unrest, villains in high places and includes a plea for people to take control of creating a better world.

Funky Love includes other tracks that would have served to indulge the lovers in the crowd. Jones’ sultry vocals work best on the tracks where the production is pared back, such as the grinding title track, the percussive ballad “Sunday Blue (Never Alone), and the up-tempo rock infused “Smell the Fun,” which pairs Jones with L. Young.

The desire for political freedom always resided in close proximity with desires of a more personal nature. In a way the two are connected because a person can fully pursue their desires when they are politically free. Soul music artists have always recognized this, and Jones manages to nicely address both the political and personal on Funky Love. Recommended

Howard Dukes

 

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