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Chaka Khan Funk This review

I don't think I can pull off a full piece on this Chaka Khan disc, so I figured why not drop a track-by-track review on this. First time for any of my rock the dub reviews, so let's see how it goes:

"Back In The Day"
It must suck being an established artist trying to stay relevant. Chaka has done so much, it's hard to not compare her new output with her classic work. This track is not where she needs to go: the writing is weird, her voice is being filtered odd, and aside from the bass guitar, this is an odd intro to start out with.

"Foolish Fool"
Stupid track title, even more mindless lyrics. This sounds like a jam that ended up being recorded and kept on in a purple haze.

"One For All Time"
This one is a little better, the chorus is dope, but it's not something I'd love to listen to again and again. Kind of sounds like something I've heard before and didn't like.

The first slow jam, and it's alright. The lyrics are kind of out there, and sound like a drunken Teena Marie, but Chaka makes it work.

"Will You Love Me"
This CD is 0 for 5 right now in terms of keepers; this Neo-Soul sound is not hittin for Chaka. Her voice sounds much better, but the instrumental is too far out.

"Castles Made Of Sand"
Ugh. The first line is on some spoken word malarky; the backwards guitar reminds me of the guitar solo in D'Angelo's "The Root", but this is just a mess.

"Disrespectful" (ft. Mary J. Blige)
OK this is the best track on it. Not a good look that the heater comes in at track 7 of a 13-track disc. The beat reminds me of Amerie's "1 Thing", but Chaka and MJB freak this one just right. Keep this one.

"Sign 'O' The Times"
Appreciating this track only makes sense if you are a Prince fan. If you've never heard the original, you will be lost. This remake is not good @ all - something is just off. The arrangement sounds like Prince's original, only it's not, so it comes off kind of pointless.

"Pack'd My Bags/You Got The Love (ft. Tony Maiden)"
Who or what is a Tony Maiden? I have no idea. This track sounds like it could be dope live - they could extend that "pack'd my bags" mantra and really freak it vocally. I'd actually rather hear this cut done live than on a CD.

"Ladies Man"
Promising track that sounds a bit too modern for my Chaka taste. Some of the metaphors are silly, but what can you do. Nice, slower vibes here.

"You Belong To Me (ft. Michael McDonald)"
Why did they need to throw the vocoder on here? And did Michael McDonald HAVE to hop up on this? It sounds like Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees produced this, with a fake Stevie Wonder harmonica solo. Wow.

"Hail To The Wrong"
Another attempt at a more modern-sound that just goes nowhere. Those handclaps and the constant percussion hit (what is the stick hitting, an empty bottle or something?) just annoy the daylights out of me. I do like Chaka's non-screaming voice, though.

"Super Life"
Not really feeling this one either. Sounds like its trying too hard to sound like vintage Rufus. Those wah-wah guitars are dope, but the entire package is bland.

Which is the main thing about this CD: Chaka tries hard. Her voice is the saving grace: she has such control, she can make her voice do backflips at will - but the selection of tracks on here is ridiculous. Loads of half-hearted attempts at wooing the Adult Contemporary crowd, who'd just rather hear her belt out some classics. Maybe this disc was made with a "tour of the hits" in mind, ala her pal Prince. Go Chaka, let me hear "Sweet Thing".

Essential Cuts: "Disrespectful", "Pack'd My Bags/You Got The Love"

rock the dub gives Chaka Khan's Funk This album a 2.5 out of 5 stars. While Chaka still has "it", her selection of songs is sub-par; Chaka can still blow, but needs an overhaul in terms of songs that really mean something.

hit the links:
Funk This on Amazon
Chaka Khan on MySpace
Listen to the entire LP on Download.com

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