Friday, January 25, 2013

325 of 1001 Albums: Curtis Mayfield's There's No Place Like America Today

There's No Place Like America Today sounds like a bit of progression and change from the previous listen of Superfly. While both are still in the same genre there is something richer about the lyrics in Curtis Mayfield's 1975 release that is a departure from the soundtrack he made for the movie Superfly. There is also something a little bit more serious about the album initially set up in the cover of the album, which is a photograph taken by Margaret Bourke-White in 1937 of African Americans standing in front of billboard featuring a rich white family in the midst of the Great Depression.

There is still some songs that reflect the vibe that Mayfield had on Superfly though, like "So In Love", which has some great love songs lyrics if you're looking for one. It sort of stands in contrast to the tone of cover. One of the stronger songs on the album is "Jesus" though. Unlike a lot of songs that reflect the idea of gospel music this seems to be sung like a celebration instead of the serious tone you get in many songs with the same theme.

With the mix of R&B and funk sounds though it is like Mayfield has found his balance. The music showcases the talent of the band to back him up, and match the tones of the lyrics that Mayfield is singing. It's no surprise that many artists would cover his songs in the future as you can still hear  many of the sounds of this album woven into music today.

There's No Place Like America Today keeps the pace right with just seven songs. While there is a lot of rich texture in the music it still falls a little a slow sometimes. There are some moments you feel like getting into the music, and then some others where your mind might wander. It leaves an impact with the overall atmosphere that Mayfield has created within in his album though. The critics might have been conflicted on their feedback on it, but there is no doubt that a lot of talent lies behind it. Mayfield has all sorts of talents with his voice, and with the mulitple instruments he can play.

Rating 3 of 5.
Recommended Listen: Jesus

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