Review Summary: Tryin' ta get over
During the early 1970s, Blaxploitation was at its peak with films like "Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song" (1971) and "Shaft, Mafia in New York" (1971). This cinematographic genre is known to be originally made specifically for an urban black audience, as most films deal with poor neighborhoods, slavery, miscegenation, rebellion and sex. However, Blaxploitation includes several subtypes, including crime, action, westerns, horror, comedy and even musical. But it was the soundtracks of the films that really shone at that time, many Blaxploitation works feature funk and soul jazz soundtracks with heavy bass, funky beats and wah-wah guitars.
Unlike the common soundtrack, “Super Fly” is a conceptual album known for its anti-drug and liberation themes. Unlike the film, Curtis Mayfield maintains a much more critical stance, with socially aware lyrics about crime, poverty and drug abuse. However, the theme of the lyrics of the album is not far from the film.
The album starts with Little Child Runnin 'Wild, a soul song about loneliness and drug addiction, with the highlight of this track falling on the rich orchestra of violins and wind instruments. Then another fantastic track, Pusherman, perhaps the coolest track on the album that talks about the film's protagonist (Youngblood Priest). This song features an incredible guitar riff and an unforgettable phrase: “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.” The next track is Freddie’s Dead, also with a tremendous funk guitar riff and impressive orchestration; like the previous track, this one is also about a character, Fat Freddie.
One of the best things about this soundtrack is its musical diversity. There are two instrumental tracks, Junkie Chase and Think; two ballads, Give Me Your Love (Love Song), followed by Eddie You Should Know Better; and a typically soul song, No Thing On Me, about Youngblood's vision of how drugs took so many friends, and about his release from cocaine: "My life's a natural high / The man can't put no thing on me" . Closing this masterpiece is Superfly, the most well-known track in the feature film. An incredible song that really attracts the mood of the film, being the best way to finish this job.
Overall, “Super Fly” is a unique soundtrack and a true masterpiece, both musical and lyrically. All the tracks are amazing, except Think, which doesn't quite fit with the rest of the album. The rest of the songs show Mayfield's diversity. Being one of the few soundtracks that managed to sell more than the film itself, it certainly demonstrates that Curtis Mayfield was a talented singer and songwriter.