Have you ever experienced that album that you feel more than you hear it? I’m not talking about the “Boy, this song makes me want to jump up and dance!” or the “This album makes me think of ma and pa” feeling. I’m talking about the feeling that sinks into your bones and transcends you to the edges of the universe where there is nothing but the blackness and molecules beginning to clump together to form nebulas and planets. The kind of music that makes you stare into the sky and makes you feel like you’re THERE and NOT here.
The album that you crank up as loud as your sense of knowing when it can cause “long term damage of hearing” levels, but not quite because you’re an adult with a mortgage and the thought of buying hearing aids your insurance doesn’t cover gives you pause. The album you let wash over you like the pounding waves of an ocean beating down on a rock turning it into sand over the years. Yeah? You got that album in your mind and can feel the neurons in your brain making the synapses fire on all cylinders to remember that feeling of hearing it for the first time. Good.
For me, that album is Michael Kiwanuka’s “Love & Hate” from 2016. I’m not sure I’ve experienced an album quite like this since I first really listened, not to be confused with heard, to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall” in college . The opening track “Cold Little Heart” is a ten minute thing of beauty. The first five minutes and three seconds gives “The Great Gig in the Sky” a run for its money in terms of pure, lyricless joy. Then, you just let Kiwanuka’s graveled voice and words carry you off into the waves of the song and, in all reality, the rest of the album. The first time you listen to it, you probably won’t even hear the lyrics; the first time or maybe even the second. You’re just going to let the music do its thing. This is one of the albums where you won’t skip a single track, because it would be like editing out a scene from your favorite movie. It all melds perfectly and seamlessly together into an album you’ll never tire of. As you kick off your weekend and are wondering what you want to listen to as you unwind your day, I highly recommend checking out “Love & Hate”. You may love it. You may hate it. But you will not regret it. Enjoy!