Alexander O'Neal
Hearsay



Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A triumphant album from one of the most forceful and expressive vocalists in soul music.

Though some may recognize the name from his feature on Cherrelle's smash hit “Saturday Love,” for the uninitiated, Alexander O'Neal is a lesser-known vocalist from Mississippi who came up in the Minneapolis scene. After both being kicked from The Time by Prince, O'Neal and production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis began working together in the mid-'80s, making three albums of quality post-disco music before parting ways in the early '90s. Hearsay is the second of these albums, and the most acclaimed, capturing O'Neal's passion with startling clarity. By blending the emerging new jack sound with a boogie palette, Jam & Lewis crafted a slab of '80s soul that expertly balances with O'Neal's unique, energetic vocal style. Yes, even during its less-than-perfect moments--this record is seriously electric.

What can I say to make you love me?

From a technical standpoint, Hearsay is basically a masterpiece. I mean, Jam & Lewis are living legends for a reason. All the sounds here are bold and know exactly where they're supposed to be, what they're supposed to be doing... Even if you just checked the intros to a handful of these tracks, I'd consider my review a success--there's little else that makes my heart soar like a good, cathartic intro to an oldskool tune, and many of the tracks here are on-par with or better than what the era had to offer as far as that goes. But you'd be missing out on what ties the production together to make this album so incredible. O'Neal's performance is magnificent, fusing all the best parts of Chicago and New York with a shot of southern gospel to deliver a unique vocal style that'll stop you in your tracks. This guy's got pipes!

The album flow of Hearsay is quirky, to say the least. There are many interludes and skits throughout, but they're distinct enough to add flavor and break up the tracklist, a technique that can be hit or miss for me, personally. I'll admit I didn't love them all on first listen, but after additional spins, these pieces fell into place more smoothly, giving character (and concept) to an album that's colorful to begin with. Adding this quality to a modest runtime of 45 minutes makes Hearsay an irresistible jam.

Whether through skits, sentimental ballads, or energetic dance bombs, the album tells tales of love, lust, heartbreak, and miscommunication. Hardly new themes for r&b, but O'Neal's delivery of these stories is so earnest and spirited, the production accompanying them so pure, that if you close your eyes, it sounds like you're there in the studio as it was being recorded. Truly remarkable.

If you don't already appreciate this kind of music, Hearsay might not make you a fan. But for those that like to boogie down, vibe, cry, or wave their hands in the air like they just don't care, this one's for you.



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user ratings (13)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rules, had to throw something up for a thread



shouts out to drifter for blessing me with this jam machine

Drifter
April 19th 2021


17257 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ayyy awesome review dude. definitely an all timer for me. comfortably within my top 5 no doubt.

AnimalsAsSummit
April 19th 2021


5502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sunshine is incredible. Great review.

Digging: Headhunter (UK) - Nomad

normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thx dudes



agreed animals, sunshine is a stunner



also “The Lovers” is about as close as you can get to doing a shot of espresso with music, that track absolutely gooooes

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2021


7817 Comments


Good rev normz, just checked "Criticize" and it is a boppy banger



Drifter
April 19th 2021


17257 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"also “The Lovers” is about as close as you can get to doing a shot of espresso with music"



best description of all time

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2021


2921 Comments


hey this is a very nice and good review that i enjoyed reading with my eyes

Digging: Porter Robinson - Nurture

normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thx dedexbro

normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aw jesp too!!! thxx

TVC15
April 19th 2021


10844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review for a great album m/

Digging: Sematary - Rainbow Bridge 3

normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thx tveee



official update, godflesh has been dethroned by alexander oneal for my most scrobbled artist of the past 7 days. which is uh really something



proof: https://imgur.com/a/NjNCDJN

Drifter
April 19th 2021


17257 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is a good thing

normaloctagon
April 19th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you're plotting to get all the metal out of my chart aren't you that's why you rec'd this 🔥🔥🔥

parksungjoon
April 19th 2021


30896 Comments


based

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

Pikazilla
April 19th 2021


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck me, this is amazing

parksungjoon
April 19th 2021


30896 Comments


This needs a feature, fuck me; this is revolutionary!

Havey
April 19th 2021


10410 Comments


sput getting jam & lewis-pilled... love to see it

parksungjoon
April 19th 2021


30896 Comments


yevaH

AnimalsAsSummit
April 20th 2021


5502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alexander O’Neal > Godflesh easy

normaloctagon
April 20th 2021


5575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the way



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