Review Summary: Tryin' ta get over
During the early 70's, Blaxploitation was at its peak with features like Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Shaft. This cinematic genre is known for being originally made specifically for an urban black audience, which most films deal with poor urban neighborhoods, slavery, miscegenation, rebellion and sex. Nevertheless, Blaxploitation includes several sub-types, including crime, action, westerns, horror, comedy, and even musical. But it was films' soundtracks that really shined back then, many blaxploitation films feature funk and soul jazz soundtracks with heavy bass, funky beats, and wah-wah guitars.
Unlike the common soundtrack, Superfly
is a concept album known for its anti-drug and self-liberation themes, unlike the film, Mayfield holds a position far more critical, with socially aware lyrics about crime, poverty and drug abuse. However, the album lyric content doesn't distance itself from the film.
The album starts with Little Child Runnin' Wild, a soul song about loneliness and drug addiction, the highlight in this one is its rich orchestration of violins and woodwind instruments. Up next, another fantastic track, Pusherman, maybe the coolest track of the album, is about film's protagonist Youngblood Priest, this song features an amazing funky guitar riff, and an unforgettable line: "I'm your mamma, I'm your daddy / I'm that nigga in the alley / I'm your doctor, when in need / Want some coke, have some weed
." Next track is Freddie's Dead, also with a tremendous funk guitar riff and an overwhelming orchestration; just like the previous track, this one is also about a film's character, Fat Freddie.
One of the best things about this soundtrack is its musical diversity. There are also two instrumental tracks, Junkie Chase and Think, the latest being the weakest track of the album; two ballads, Give Me Your Love (Love Song) followed by Eddie You Should Know Better; and a typical soul song, No Thing On Me, this one about Youngblood's view about how drugs took away so many friends and his liberation from cocaine: "My life's a natural high / The man can't put no thing on me.
" Closing this masterpiece is Superfly, the most known track present in the film, an awesome song that really catches the film's mood, the best way to end this superb soundtrack.
All in all, Superfly
is an unique film soundtrack and a true masterpiece, both musically and lyrically. All tracks are amazing, except for Think that doesn't quite fit, and show Mayfield's diversity. Being one of the few soundtracks to out-gross the film it accompanied, it surely demonstrates that Curtis Mayfield was a talented singer and songwriter.