I don't review albums any longer.
Before Al Gore blessed us with the Internet, in-depth album reviews seemed necessary … because they were. You typically couldn't hear an album before it came out. Many moons ago, until mega-stores like HMV allowed you to preview CD purchases at their listening stations, you had to rely on the word of professional critics or family/friends who were privy to music before it was released. It was a time when having a great single and video was important. Nowadays, not so much. With digital vehicles such as Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Rhapsody, Tidal, Google Play, NPR, etc., you can stream and listen to entire albums days, and very often weeks, before their official release dates. Who needs reviewers any longer? You can make up your own damn mind.
Unfortunately what lies at the very foundation of the entertainment industry is still a need for solid, word-of-mouth type promotion and marketing. Potential listeners or consumers can't preview music if they don't know about said music. That's why I like to share music. Music is everything to me and nothing to others. But if I take my time to share something, it's for a reason ... or several. That being said, I long-winded that intro for one simple pitch: The Hue's Aurora.
My love for rap, downtempo, chillhop, electronica, nu-jazz and soul music based on familiar tempos knows no bounds. The Hue has dropped an album I have been waiting to hear for a long time. Not only have I been waiting for them to drop Aurora after hearing Slick (featuring Ladybug Mecca, formerly of Digable Planets), I've been waiting for this album. This is grown rap music. There are messages here. There is love here. There is solidarity here. The songs are full, musical and allowed to breathe. I appreciate songs from the 70's & 80's that were six minutes and longer. I blame disco, funk, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and a slew of other artists for that. The Hue have delivered an album that sits directly in that pocket. The shortest song clocks in at just under four minutes, the longest at almost ten. Aurora's songs aren't for the quit hit. They're for the long start-to-finish listen, for the intimate concert performance, for the serious chillout session. Aurora also hearkens back to a time when lyrics weren't unnecessarily hard or offensive and production was clean, sharp, tight and simple. Nothing here is rushed and you can hear it. I could type a lot more but I would rather you listen to the album and come to your own conclusion. The Hue have managed to balancing rapping, singing and instrumentation in a way that many groups haven't done recently. Their effort should not go ignored.
Listen to and/or purchase Aurora here.