Raphael Saadiq returns with this fourth studio album, Stone Rollin’, after great success with his last, The Way I See It, in 2008. A figurehead for the Motown sound revival, Saadiq has gone harder and explored a wider variety of genres with this record, pushing forward into 70s soul, R&B, early Rock ‘n’ Roll and the fact that all these genres pull together to make a cohesive and great album shows the sheer talent he possesses.
“Heart Attack” opens the proceedings in a loud and brash way, a Sly and The Family Stone sound-a-like, that really sets the tone for the album, and apart from a few more soulful turns, it never really lets up. It immediately has a greater impact than The Way I See It, ensnaring the listener in his soulful musicianship. In fact, Saadiq reportedly played around 90% of the music on this album himself. A mind-blowing fact for something that already sounds like it’s been unearthed from some 1970s vault, let alone played mostly by one man. You can imagine Saadiq truly belonging to that era.
Other album highlights include “Radio” and the titular “Stone Rollin'”, brilliant songs that you’ll find it hard to resist boogieing along to. For me though, Saadiq’s triumph comes with “Good Man”, a grandiose and soulful song that by slightly juxtaposing it’s slower tone and melody against a the other upbeat tracks seems to stand above them. As soon as the loud, blaring intro kicks in, you will be hooked. You’ll also realise how much of a good man he is for sharing this.