Teri Tobin - So Good to Me (2012)

Teri Tobin
Teri Tobin So Good to Me.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

For some music lovers, neo-soul is the staple of soul music today.  When they think of soul music, these fans think Tony! Toni! Tone’!, Badu, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Musiq, India.Arie, the Roots and Maxwell, among others  (although it can be argued that Maxwell was never really a neo-soul artist, musically speaking; he just happened to come along in the era.) From the mid 1990’s to the early 2k, neo-soul was a dominant genre, combining hip-hip instrumentation with 70’s soul style and vocals, and giving, for a time, new life to a struggling  soul music market.  Although it’s no longer the king of the hill of the R&B scene, neo-soul is still relevant, with artists like Maxwell, Alicia Keys, and Robin Thicke leading the way, and with high hopes and expectations on the return of D’Angelo . 

For some music lovers, neo-soul is the staple of soul music today.  When they think of soul music, these fans think Tony! Toni! Tone’!, Badu, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Musiq, India.Arie, the Roots and Maxwell, among others  (although it can be argued that Maxwell was never really a neo-soul artist, musically speaking; he just happened to come along in the era.) From the mid 1990’s to the early 2k, neo-soul was a dominant genre, combining hip-hip instrumentation with 70’s soul style and vocals, and giving, for a time, new life to a struggling  soul music market.  Although it’s no longer the king of the hill of the R&B scene, neo-soul is still relevant, with artists like Maxwell, Alicia Keys, and Robin Thicke leading the way, and with high hopes and expectations on the return of D’Angelo . 

Teri Tobin, is a disciple of the 90’s/2k neo-soul movement.  The Arizona native boasts the requisite neo-soul resume: college educated (Howard University), musically trained, and possessing an extended soul music mental rolodex.  But, similar tothe soul artists of today, Tobin also brings a heavy hip hop influence to her music. With the release of her latest CD, So Good To Me, Tobin feeds your neo-soul pallet with a mellow, organic sound that  could easily make you feel as though you’re in 1998 all over again. 

So Good To Me channels Tobin’s inner 70’s soul vocals, while deeply tapping into 90’s hip-hop influenced soul sounds.  Vocally, Tobin gives you traces of some of her music influences: Prince, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  But as with most neo-soul albums, the music doesn’t always follow the ebb and flows of Tobin’s singing. It’s indicative of the genre; the artist is oftentimes singing around, through or over the beats, loops and samples of the music.  Still, there is texture to the album, thus the organic approach, and So Good To Me, sets a mellow, candlelight mood that’s built for stimulating conversation, among other things. 

Unlike many single producer projects of prior soul eras, So Good To Me boasts production by a number of noted producers, including Animate Inventions, Keith “Bubby” Webb, and Tall Black Guy Productions.  Consequently, the album has a consistent aura but yet is more of a sequence of different events within that aura.  However, the greatest constant isTobin’s rich, soulful vocal work, which makes the music all come together .  Those rich vocals were the signature of the neo-soul genre, and Teri Tobin picks up up the mantle beautifully, taking listeners you on a journey into her world with songs like “Money Changes Everything,” “Lil Bit” and “Say Ooh.”  Most all of the tracks follow the organic format, but it would be really nice to hear Tobin over a live music arrangement, just to see how high she can fly. 

90s neo-soul continues to be an iconic reference point for many music lovers, and the mellow, organic sound of So Good To Me fits well into that musical history. And though she is breaking out a decade and a half after neo-soul hit its peak,  with So Good To Me Teri Tobin establishes herself as an artist whose name you will want to remember. Recommended.

By Gabriel Rich

 

 

Leave a comment!