Missy Elliot - WTF (Where They From) is back - THANK GOD - with her first new video in years and it's like she never left. It speaks to how futuristic she was when she first popped up in the late '90s…nearly 20 years later and I don't know if the pop world has ever caught up. She's been out of the game for a minute because of health issues and I hope this represents a return of one of pop's greatest talents after a too-long hiatus.
Natalie Merchant: Carnival - Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings
For the 20th anniversary of Merchant’s big hit solo debut, "Tigerlilly," she rearranges and re-records the entire album. "Carnival" was one of the major hits from 1995 and I just remember many a car ride when a then-girlfriend would play the song and album over and over. Merchant makes interesting choices in this revisit, especially in how she strips down a lot of songs to their acoustic core and her vocal approach is less urgent and sounds more wistful. Here's the original version of the video:
Allen Toussaint - Go Back Home. Toussaint was one of the greatest musical figures out of one of the greatest musical cities in America; since the 1950s, he’s been a massive influence on the shape and sound of New Orleans R&B, having worked with everyone from Ernie K. Doe to Irma Thomas to Lee Dorsey to the Meters, etc. At the age of 77, passed away last week in Madrid, Spain while on tour. Oliver's choice was one of his favorites, but here he is performing Southern Nights.
Daniel Caesar - Pilgrim's Paradise
Daniel Caesar's follow up to last year's "Praise Break," continues the intersection of love and faith. This church kid from Toronto has a tone that prompts comparisons to other singers but thematically he's in a class all by himself. Here's an earlier release called, "Violet."
Sango - Da Rochina
Soulection Soldier Sango is back to continue his ode to Baile funk, Brazilian bass music whose roots are in Rio De Janeiro. He's proven to be particularly skillful at marrying the now sound of the beats to dance music from Brazil and weaving in '90s R&B here and there for good measure. Here's a teaser video for the album.