Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No. 84: Lady Soul

Band: Aretha Franklin
Album: Lady Soul
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: "Lady Soul" gives you more classic Aretha. "Chain of Fools," "(You Make Me Feel like) a Natural Woman," and her covers of "Groovin'" and "People Get Ready" are among her best work.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm not in love with having two Aretha records back-to-back, especially two so close in time period. It's not like she was doing country; The style of these records aren't really divergent.
Best song: "Chain of Fools" is amazing.
Worst song: "Ain't No Way" ain't no good.
Is it awesome?: Absolutely. 60s Aretha=Awesome.

I find it hard to justify putting an artist back-to-back in this list. I know this list is anything but an exact science (and total bullshit, to boot), but it just reeks of "hey, we need to get her on here. Put both in the 80s." Hell, even the Beatles don't go back-to-back up at the top of the list.

Still, "Lady Soul" is among Aretha's best work. Released a year after "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," "Lady Soul" has two of her signature songs and they couldn't be different. The Carole King-penned "(You Make Me Feel like) a Natural Woman" is a soft love song, sung with conviction and heart by Aretha in a slow burn. "Chain of Fools," however, is a bit of a rocker, as Aretha calls out a man in angry fashion. Her range is the star here.

Again, I think it's silly to put it next to "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," but it's still a great record.

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