Review Summary: A near timeless record packed with excellent quantities, and heartwarming songs.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Within a few sentences, I’m just going to openly admit this in a rather blunt way; I’m a guilty sucker for the piano. I don’t quite know what elements captivate my attention, but I think it’s on the lines of simply how it sounds. Compared to most instruments, I have never found this one to be as beautiful and melodically vibrant as I have the piano. Sometimes I’ll even go on addictive craves, where I’ll listen to it sometimes days and weeks at a time, wanting to hear nothing but it. I have experienced that sensation with many albums, such as Nick Cave’s No More Shall We Part
(which is mainly piano based, although I barely listen to it anymore), and even the overlooked Soul II Soul’s masterpiece titled Club Classics Vol. One
, which is in the given name; it features some of their most thoughtful, deep tracks submerged with beautiful atmospheres and piano melodies, making it one of the most dearest albums I’ve yet to hear.
But to be precise with you, though, Soul II Soul is a dance group who writes truly mesmerizing tunes, blending elements of soul, R&B, and new jack swing that have altogether set the scene for their career (and hopefully for more years to come). They’ve also released some groundbreaking singles, seen on here as well, like the emotionally touching ‘Keep on Movin’, and the liberating ‘Feel Free’, and perhaps even the smoothly dynamic dub-infused ‘Fairplay’ giving them heaps of spotlight that have made them burst over their career. To analyze the album for itself, though, it has remained an influential staple for hip-hop, to African music, to even R&B, with reviewers from many sources such as Allmusic claiming it to be one of the greatest R&B releases since the late 80’s. To be honest, I’m not a fan of R&B, but this album has definitely opened my mind about the genre.
Ten tracks strong and clocking in near the forty-five minute mark, you can expect to hear soulful, deep vocals with along with luscious piano deliveries. There are a variety of percussions and different African-themed instruments indeed heard on this album, but to be quite honest with you, if you just stripped it down to the piano and vocals, this would be just as heart-warming and captivating as before. Simply put though, this album is simple musically, but incredibly effective in terms of emotion and listen-ability.
The album opener ‘Keep on Movin’ epitomizes a truly memorable, sympathetic, and overall positively egged track that you could say is outrageously warm and uplifting. With some swingy electronic beat in the introduction, the absolutely gorgeous piano line enriches the track and eventually lifts off from there, with the occasional floating vocal snippet “Keep on movin….Keep on movin don’t stop now, Keep on movin
.” The piano and the vocals pretty much drive the entire song, and is probably their most well-known and recognized. While repetition is indeed a factor with this song as well with much of the album, it could be possible to get lost in a trance while listening to these magnificent songs. I actually first heard this song off of some radio station in GTA: San Andreas, and I almost felt instantly captivated by how wonderful it was. ‘Keep on Movin’ practically defines this band and has remained a definite staple for the band over the years.
While the song is their most well-known (for good reason), the rest of the album is robust and stellar. ‘Fairplay’ is ultimately marked by its James Brown-critique rhythm setup, and the dreary female vocals, whereas ‘Holdin’ On’ is more reflective lyrically (“In my imagination running wild, I feel the time has passed us by, Staying in my mind all the time, Just like the endless beat…that beat
”), male-vocalist driven, and bigger on musicality (an African-shaky beat, an enduring piano line and even violins with a spoken word African chorus). ‘Feeling Free’ seems to have a dreggier hip-hop beat with a spicy violin lead, while still retaining their soul edge.
The last highlight is one of the most euphoric songs here, titled ‘Happiness’. It showcases almost all of their best moments; African-styled congas and bongos, a smooth piano, and meaningful lyrics telling you to stay optimistic with lfe), leading straight into one of the most shining moments on the album.
Soul II Soul’s classic Club Classics Vol. One
is fueled by strong musicianship and terrific vocals, winding in a near classic album from the group, with their obvious understanding of how to write deep and rich tunes. Their soulful presence located here is something you won’t find every day, and I believe the melodies and percussions exemplify this in a great way. Soul II Soul’s debut album is a heart-sparkling album that is absolutely essential and worthwhile to check out, and if you didn’t enjoy ‘Keep on Movin’ (which I could find somewhat hard to believe), don’t automatically assume you won’t find anything better on this album, because I’m definitely sure you will.
Keep on Movin
…all of them