Neo-soul deserves the rich and bountiful future Liv.e can give it. The Dallas born talent slipped a momentous album by me on July 31st that I am just now catching up to. It was her feature on Mind Right off Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin’s collaboration album FlySiifu’s that really got my attention. Her voice appears with the fullness and beauty it reflects on her solo work but I was even more struck by the style she brought to the time she had on that song. If you have a great voice you can sing and kill a hook. She had real swag, poise, confidence and vision for her words.
The album I missed has that in spades. Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… is spellbinding in its delivery and construction. Going back to neo-soul for a second, what sunk that movement was becoming too fixed in an earthy, holistic, India Arie(NO SHOTS!) aesthetic. We need that pure time stopping neo-soul sprinkled in and we still get it from Liv (example: I Been Livin) but the tempos change. To Unplug coils and uncoils in speed and tone. If you think I am overthinking it you are underthinking it! On Lessons From My Mistakes…But I Lost Your Number she stops the song gives it a few beats and jumps in just to clarify it’s not over, then the beat switches. That song follows Stories With Aunt Liv which is a spoken word piece but not the kind meant to impress you, it builds the story of searching for happiness by improving yourself and the company you keep. About Love At 21 and She’s My Brand New Crush paint vividly the intoxication of discovering love(the album was produced by Mejiwahn who deserves a ton of credit for how fluidly these songs fit together), this character loves and moves on letting go and grasping for new experiences at the same time. We never feel sorry for her when things hurt because of how funny and thoughtful our narrator is at each turn. She carries the sureness of someone who will make it out the other side.
I have no idea how Liv feels but I think we hit the other side of this character’s journey on track fifteen- Sir Lady Makem Fall. She starts off the song “Texas girl, I pull out my saddle and I rock your world. I could be your model…” everything is said in an organically seductive way. She says it all with a smile and a chuckle hidden beneath it as if to say ‘I know myself and you know me…this is going to be fun’. Four songs later on Lazy Eater Bets On Her Likeness she starts in the stars declaring “I’ma choose myself, I hope that you will choose me too.” It’s the same realization, to know that you want love on your terms and need not bend to reach it. You need only fit it.
My favorite albums of all time are not by Nas or Biggie. They are by Al Green, Gil Scott Heron, and Bill Withers. So Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… is a cannon blast for my year. I badly want this generation to have it’s own Amel Larrieux. Someone who doesn’t ask permission to give you too many songs or too much spoken word, or sink so deeply into an ornately conceptual groove you forget what you were doing. She does it with such grace to beg the question, why isn’t it like this more often?
Stream then buy Couldn’t Wait To Tell You… below: