Elijah Blake basks in his new independent freedom and the almost forgotten art of storytelling, on his honestly soulful latest album, Audiology. Giving us pure vocals and an honesty that’s missing in a lot of today’s music, you can find a combination of it all on Elijah’s sophomore album.
An audio piece that shows the promise the talented singer/songwriter first showed us in 2012 with his near classic debut EP, Bijoux 22. Which had us thinking that Blake would be able to deliver a very timeless and classic debut album, whenever he did drop it. Unfortunately for us when he did in 2015, Shadows & Diamonds, was not that. Whether it was his now former label ARTium/Def Jam Recordings fault or not, it fell short of those high expectations, which many of us had for it.
While Blake’s sophomore album is the very timeless and classic debut album we thought we would get from the very talented singer/songwriter, who has written from everybody from Rihanna to Keyshia Cole, Usher and Trey Songz. Like with Bijoux 22 he captures your ears with the very opening track, Occupied. A very soulfully uplifting record that with it’s up-tempo horns and great storytelling about love and love at first sight, really lets Blake’s very soulful amazing vocals and lyrics be showcased. The very reminiscent of early 2000’s R&B sounding track, perfectly slowing down with its runs and scats towards the latter part flowing so effortlessly into the second track, Dopeamine. An ambient, very piano and drum-driven production with it’s very catchy and infectious hook that really showcases Blake’s vocals and storytelling about a love that has him feelin’ like a fiend for love, just like a fiend has for drugs.
That perfectly segues into arguably the best track on the album and one of the best records so far of Blake’s career. The very stripped-down and almost acoustic sounding, California Livin’. Which finds him over the very triumphant horns, keys and horns, bearing all his soul in his lyrics about turning California dreams and struggles into greater realities with his love for his current home. Blake then gets back to the very upbeat and up-tempo sounds on the very horn-heavy, funky, retro-inspired, Stingy. A record that’s the first to really showcase the great runs throughout the album, as he sings about how women should not be stingy about their great looks and beauty. The slowed-down end, really showcasing Blake’s very great, high-pitched vocals, before so smoothly and perfectly transitioning into the very smooth and sensually soulful, Rendezvous. A very smooth piano-driven ballad about the rendezvous and “creepin’” feeling a longstanding love gives him. Which he sings so beautifully about in his beautifully angelic-like voice and has you wondering, “Have you ever heard a more beautifully written song, which makes you just want to fall in love?” It’s by far one of the best songs on the album and possibly even Blake’s best written song ever.
Audiology is also an album that compared to his first, really allows him the artistry and freedom you get more as an independent artist. His first independent album, it really allows him to showcase his many influences he had. This being none more clearer than on the very next track, one of his singles from the album, Technicolor. A very Prince-inspired record, that with its disco-tinged feel good vibe is also partially Michael Jackson-inspired, as well as a lot of the other timeless feel-good records of the 80’s and 90’s-inspired. The vibrant sounds and catchy lyrics, having Blake singing to his special lover about how much he really appreciates her beauty and vibrant personality that keeps him wanting more too. And with a love like that, why wouldn’t he? Meanwhile, Secret Love, is yet another great slow jam, that sounds like it’s also partially Prince or disco-tinged, 80s-inspired.
Going into the second half of the album, Elijah goes into his more bedroom-inspired slow jams too. Starting with the very sensual, 11:59. A guitar-driven slow jam about late night endeavors of love, which really let’s Blake show off his very silky smooth vocals. Perfectly transitioning so smoothly into the very enticing, Move Me. A very horn and various other instruments-driven record that has the singer, singing so effortlessly about trust issues that makes him question certain cynical things about love. Before telling a tale of temptation on the very smooth and laidback, Xana White.
Blake gives D’Angelo vibes with his very strong vocals on the guitar and bass heavy-driven, almost gospel-like inspired, When It’s Magic. A very almost church like ballad about a special feeling he never experienced with his lover and how magical it’s when they decide to let their good and inspiringly moving energy takeoff together as one. Perfectly transitioning into the very infectious Marvin Gaye-inspired, Black & Blue. A late night lovers anthem, which has Elijah over the lush synth bed and thick baseline, cooing out with very strong vocal emotions of admiration to the woman of his dreams. As he tries to assure her of how perfect she’s in every way and give that modern sexual healing to help bring some of that classic, good lovin’ late night anthems of classic old-school R&B that Gaye, Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, Boyz III Men and so many others perfected. He then closes the album with the most honest and transparent song he ever released, Momma Knows. A very stripped-down production, which really only has keys as a backdrop, as Elijah tells the heartbreaking story of how he was molested as a child.
While the album is such a finally crafted one that you can easily play from front to back and not only one of the best of 2017, but of the past few years across any genre. What the latest record, Momma Knows, shows, is that Blake, like all of us, is still learning on how to deal and work on those issues. But even in delivering such a timeless and classic album, he shows he can heal himself and so many others in audio form with his own truth and honestie’s. Music in its true purest art form, to try to help and heal all.