released Mar 30th, 2010

from the album - Window Seat

YouTube - Erykah Badu - Window Seat (Music Video)

from all music

She grew up listening to '70s soul and '80s hip-hop, but Erykah Badu drew more comparisons to Billie Holiday upon her breakout in 1997, after the release of her first album, Baduizm. The grooves and production on the album are bass-heavy R&B, but Badu's languorous, occasionally tortured vocals and delicate phrasing immediately removed her from the legion of cookie-cutter female R&B singers. A singer/songwriter responsible for all but one of the songs on Baduizm, she found a number 12 hit with her first single, "On & On," which pushed the album to number two on the charts.

Born Erica Wright in Dallas in 1971, Badu attended a school of the arts and was working as a teacher and part-time singer in her hometown when she opened for D'Angelo at a 1994 show. D'Angelo's manager, Kedar Massenburg, was impressed with the performance and hooked her up with the singer to record a cover of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell duet "Precious Love." He also signed Badu to his recently formed Kedar Entertainment label, and served as producer for Baduizm, which also starred bassist Ron Carter and members of hip-hop avatars the Roots on several tracks. The first single, "On & On," became a number one R&B hit in early 1997, and Baduizm followed it to the top of the R&B album charts by March. Opening for R&B acts as well as rap's Wu-Tang Clan, Erykah Badu stopped just short of number one on the pop album charts in April. Her Live album followed later in the year.

In 2000 she returned with her highly anticipated second studio album, Mama's Gun, which was co-produced by Badu, James Poyser, Bilal, and Jay Dee and contained the hit single "Bag Lady." Worldwide Underground, a loose affair billed as an EP despite being longer than many full-lengths, was released in 2003. Her next step, 2008's New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, was a heavy and abstract release featuring collaborations with the members of Sa-Ra and Georgia Anne Muldrow; it reached number two on the Billboard 200 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh, looser and more playful than Pt. 1, followed in 2010.

album review

Return of the Ankh was supposed to be issued earlier than March 2010. It's just as well: 2008's stupefying 4th World War provided such a dense concentration of charged lyrics over ceaselessly vein-melting production work that Erykah Badu could have been forgiven for letting five years pass prior to unveiling something else to soak up. Return of the Ankh is a relief in that Badu does not attempt to trump herself with a set that is even more intense and powerful than its predecessor. Thematically, it's aligned with 4th World War's relatively lighter songs, "Me" and "Honey," more personal than planetary, less challenging sonically and lyrically. Most of it was actually recorded at the same time as 4th World War. The list of collaborators, featuring Georgia Anne Muldrow, Madlib, Shafiq Husayn, Dilla, James Poyser, Ahmir Thompson, and Karriem Riggins, is similar, yet the makeup is drastically different, designed for instant kicked-back enjoyment. A pause, deep breath, and a "Here we go" is not required prior to putting it on. Instead, we get Badu playing around, in the best possible way, with sample-rooted songs like "Turn Me Away (Get Munny)" (a twist on Sylvia Striplin's "You Can't Turn Me Away" and the 1995 hip-hop anthem that sampled it, Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s "Get Money"), "Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" (a slightly silly new-love song that reworks Paul McCartney's "Arrow Through Me"), and "Umm Hmm" (its optimism reflected in that of its backbone, Ndugu & the Chocolate Jam Company's Earth, Wind & Fire-like "Take Some Time"). Though the album is so rich with sample-reliant songs that it sometimes resembles a glorified mixtape, a couple standouts were made from scratch. "Window Seat" should appeal to those who have wanted Badu to revisit that lissome sound of Baduizm songs like "On & On" and "Otherside of the Game," and it packs stunning stomp-and-clap breakdowns that sync up with Badu's most halting lines: "I need you to want me/I need you to miss me/I need your attention/I need you next to me." "Out My Mind, Just in Time" is a ten-minute finale that traces a trajectory of heartache across three movements, beginning innocently enough with a devotional (if pained and humorous) piano ballad that shifts into Muldrow's psychedelic, slow-motion soul-jazz as Badu gets increasingly fragmentary and tripped-out. By the end, she is renewed: "Finally I got a leading role/Introducing Super Dope/Starring in her episode/Hello new world/Out my mind." Actual next level, as always.

Track Listing

1. "20 Feet Tall" Badu, Douthit, Wimbish Erykah Badu, 9th Wonder 3:25
2. "Window Seat" Badu, Poyser Erykah Badu, James Poyser 4:50
3. "Agitation" Badu, Husayn, Sancious Erykah Badu, Shafiq Husayn of SA-RA Creative Partners 1:33
4. "Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)" Ayers, Badu, Striplin Erykah Badu, Karriem Riggins 5:26
5. "Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" Badu, Husayn, McCartney Erykah Badu, Ta'Raach 4:39
6. "Umm Hmm" Badu, Jackson Erykah Badu, Madlib 3:45
7. "Love" Badu, Yancey Erykah Badu, J Dilla 6:02
8. "You Loving Me (Session)" Badu, Benzworth Erykah Badu 1:04
9. "Fall in Love (Your Funeral)" Badu, Glenn, Riggins Erykah Badu, Karriem Riggins 6:06
10. "Incense" (featuring Kirsten Agresta) Badu, Jackson Erykah Badu, Madlib 3:27
11. "Out My Mind, Just in Time" Badu, Muldrow, Poyser Erykah Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow 10:21