Eli \ - Come And Get It
So the deal here is that Boston's Paperboy Reed is a polarizing figure. Is he the Great White Hope of what is left of commercial Soul music, or is he another dilettante with an ear for perfect translations of soul music without the, well, soul? "Come and Get It" will probably fuel rather than solve that debate, and the Capitol hype-machine behind him will only complicate those matters. But we're here to talk music, right?
First off: songs like "Name Calling," "Help Me," and "I Found You Out" are mid-60s Stax soul as museum pieces. Perfect horn charts, slick production, heated vocals-but no passion. This is to be filed under "Cover band." Reed reaches beyond that, though and, happily, sometimes well beyond that. "Just Like Me," one of the best tracks, is another slow soul jam, but here are Jones' most passionate vocals, and, to this reviewer, the most sincerely emotional. This is not just a note-for-note cop of classic styles, but an incorporation of them into his own muse. "Time Will Tell" is pure Soul, a slow, sexy testament, complete with sweet horns, rising vocal heat and dramatic pauses.
For variety, "Explosion" is a decent rocker, "You Can Run On" has a jittery rockabilly groove with a gospel rhythm and chorus that sticks with you whether you want it to or not. And no, on "Pick Your Battles," you are not listening to a particularly gritty Bobby Darin outtake. It is hard not to love this, no matter the itch to talk about its being derivative.Eli "Paperboy" Reed's "Come and Get It" is going to get a lot of press, good and bad. His understanding of the surface structure of Soul music is stunning, and while that makes for songs that seem rote exercises in that style, other songs reveal emotional depth and strong lyric skills that ought to prove in the long run that Reed is the real deal. You decide.
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