Saidah Baba Talibah - (S)Cream (2011)

Saidah Baba Talibah

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Saidah Baba Talibah has music in her blood. Her mother is the Tony and Grammy-nominated singer Salome Bey, and her uncle, Andy Bey, is also a Grammy-nominated musician. This album is the Toronto soul-rocker's first, and she chose to come out screaming (literally). (S)Cream doesn't sound like a full-length debut. It sounds like the album an established artist makes once they she has already released several projects and is aware that no matter what she puts out, her devoted fans are going to buy it. Just by the spelling of the album's title, you know you're in for something different. If you can jump from rock to funk to blues to soul-without transition-in one album, then you'll appreciate (S)Cream.

Saidah Baba Talibah has music in her blood. Her mother is the Tony and Grammy-nominated singer Salome Bey, and her uncle, Andy Bey, is also a Grammy-nominated musician. This album is the Toronto soul-rocker's first, and she chose to come out screaming (literally). (S)Cream doesn't sound like a full-length debut. It sounds like the album an established artist makes once they she has already released several projects and is aware that no matter what she puts out, her devoted fans are going to buy it. Just by the spelling of the album's title, you know you're in for something different. If you can jump from rock to funk to blues to soul-without transition-in one album, then you'll appreciate (S)Cream.

The disc opens with the title track, a sexy rock banger. Between the heavy guitar and Saidah's powerful vocals, "(S)Cream" starts the album off in high-gear. Instead of slowly bringing listeners to the top of the rollercoaster, Saidah drops them off at its peak right from the start. The CD keeps that energy on the next two songs, "Bang it Back" and "So Cool." Midway through, (S)Cream turns it down just a notch. "High" and "Good Morning Baby" replace the loud guitar and drums from the beginning of the album with a much softer violin as the singer revels in the happiness of being in love.

Saidah brings the funk on "Place Called Grace," which is one of the disc's highlights. "I was born in a place called grace; mama said I was a tiny dancer..." she kicks off the track,  evoking her inner-Tina Turner. This song has so much personality it sounds like you need to watch Saidah perform this live to get the full experience.

"Fall Again," the closing song, is filled to the brim with soul. On this track, Saidah is single but ready to fall in love again. "I'd like to fall in love again, bump my head and scrape my knees," she sings. "Let's get lost again and walk around aimlessly." Saidah's vocals are the star on this cut, and she gives an extremely emotional performance. At eight minutes long, it takes a minute for the song to build up, but once it does and the horns start blaring, the listener is definitely in for a treat.

There are so many genres infused into (S)Cream, but at no point does it sound disjointed. Vocally, you can compare Saidah to Joi or Yahzarah, but overall, she creates her own sound. Saidah's vocals are strong, but if they weren't, the stellar production would still hold the album. Yet, there are some points on (S)Cream where the wall of sound isn't a good thing. At moments, the listener has to struggle to understand what Saidah is saying over the music. Perhaps the biggest complaint about the album is that, atonly eleven tracks, it goes quickly and leavesthe listener wanting more. But if that is (S)Cream's largest problem, Saidah Baba Talibah has clearly done something right. Highly Recommended.

By Ebonie Ledbetter

 
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