Even Closer

by Goapele

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about

"She sho'll smiling hard. Where is this here place?" my Granny asked, looking at Goapele's CD cover. Then she tried to pronounce the name: "Goh- Peel? Where the hell's that?" I had to laugh; when I first saw the flyer, I too imagined it to be some mystical tourist mecca somewhere near Jamaica where women that look like the one on the cover sit on pristine shores eating mangoes in slow motion and getting you in trouble with your other half because you can't help but to look, then I figured it to be a mix CD of dancehall music.
I pronounced the name: "Gwah-pelay, Granny. It's Gwah-pelay. She's an artist I'm reviewing." "Hmmh," Granny snorted, "sound like a damn Jamaican fruit. You and your damn nappy dreadlock friends..." Goapele came to me from a friend who knows my love for music and how I can be as much of hard-ass as my Granny when critiquing things.

So here goes my first underground review: Goapele is a west coast artist (likely to be pegged neo-soul) looking to make a name for herself. As underground as she may be, somebody damn sure believes in her; "Closer", the first song, is to be featured on the soundtrack of the new movie "Honey."

Goapele's voice has a bird-like warmth that reminds you of Amel Larrieux. "Closer" is seductive and obvious as to why someone would have it in a movie. It's only weakness in fact is a keyboard that sounds cheap and Radio Shack-ish, making the cut only a step above demo.

It isn't until "Got it" that the album begins to shake of its sluggish, demo status. Here, the fruit of the Cali neo soul scene samples some serious, crip-walkable west coast funk. Although the arrangement is slight on some bass, Goapele's lead and background vocals and command of the track is fairly on target for such a sonic piece. "Romantic" is the dead on piece that will put this singer over the top. It's a laid back, uninhibited neo-soul number that can be the standard for the classiest exotic dancers from the Casa Rosso in Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro's Barbarella. The production, delivery, and edginess brought out in Goapele's virtuous voice is compelling.

"Too much of the same" solidifies the reflective constant in the album. It adds more depth to the typical broken relationship/men ain't **** lyrical content in most songs these days. The soft, mellow keys set a pensive tone for a tale of two hard-headed people playing a game of chicken in the road of love. Relaxed enough to be poetry café - friendly. Goapele's style keeps a sunny face, but is anchored in such a wise and concentrated center that it may find a home with mature crowds that go for Cassandra Wilson type jazz moreso than youthful Alicia Keyes-typed styling. It makes the marriage the beauty makes with the volatile nature of hip hop tenuous. (Goapele is supposed to be working with E40 on a track for his upcoming album. Cross your fingers.) "The Days" is an example. The muddy demo style works best for her with neo-soul. Here, the hip beat's smothered almost to vintage Wu-Tang level. The ruggedness of that and the empathetic tale of hustling for a better life by slingin' rocks clashes and seems best as the jewel to a soundtrack to a straight to video movie. "Things Don't Exist" has the complexity in chords of a Stevie Wonder in his "The Secret Life of Plants" phase. This is the one India.Arie missed (and needed) in her last album. Goapele's voice sparkles and is not weighted down by reverb, but upheld by it. Flashes of impressive poetic focus are clear: "In my fear I feel/We're seas apart in old Worlds/ We begin in vibrant colors/ but one off thing is said and I dread it."

Even Closer gives the impression of being a sophomore album in that Goapele is already pushing beyond "neo-soul" categories as if already impatient with the music industry's marketing machine. The ambition works both for and against her in the strangest ways. For instance, "Salvation" sounds like at least two thoughtful enough songs weaved on as the extensions of an elusive concept. Her voice does an admirable job of hiding the glue and the tracks. By "Back to You," that sweet, snake charmer of a voice seems iron-fisted in not letting the instrumentals of her music help her set the atmosphere. Here, a sax solo would work well to make the most of the innocence in her voice.

The next two prove to be more successful attempts of past experiments. "Butterflykisses" does a better job of the tempo and melodic changes than "Salvation." It has a Spyro-Gyro feel which forces you to recognize its impressive, fusion-jazz-like craftsmanship even if you're not mature enough to fully appreciate it. "It Takes More" is a better meeting of the talents concerning Goapele and hip hop. Though more R&B based musically, she serves delicious, self-reproaching lyrics about the breakdown of the black community in raising children. Thus, creating potentially violent thugs "you'd never give your real name to."

"Red, White and Blues" shows a turning of the corner for Goapele stylistically. Again that bird-like voice goes after an edginess that cannot be attained without the full support of her accompanying musicians. A guitar solo is the first assist Goapele allows in arguing with her the crisis of the state of American society and politics. As radiant and engaging as she is, you'd expect a more upbeat ending, perhaps a sweet outro would work. Ah, found that outro at the end, and as short as it is, it does make you impatient for whatever fruit Goapele has next to offer.

credits

released September 10, 2001

* Eric Smith
* Bass

* Rick Rodrigues
* Paintings

* Keba Konte
* Cover Art

* James Hurt
* Keyboards

* Allan Evans
* Drums

* John Shrive
* Mixing

* Soulive
* Producer

* Neal Evans
* Organ (Hammond)

* Eric Krasno
* Guitar, Producer

* Goapele
* Main Performer

* Uriah Duffy
* Bass

* Seth Waldmann
* Mixing

* Mike Tiger
* Guitar, Mini Moog, Instrumentation, Producer, Keyboards

* Errol Cooney
* Guitar

* Charles Haines
* Drums

* Sun & the Moon
* Producer

* Brian Collier
* Drums

* Steve Counter
* Engineer

* DJ Fuze
* Cut

* Mark Kellye
* Bass

* Ken Lee
* Mastering

tags

tags: r&b r&b/soul soul

license

all rights reserved

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Track Name: Closer
Closer to my dreams
It's coming over me

I'm gettin' higher
Closer to my dreams
I'm getting higher and higher
Feel it in my sleep

Some times it feels like I'll never go pass here
Some times it feels like I'm stuck forever and ever

But, I'm going higher
Closer to my dreams
I'm goin' higher and higher
I can almost reach

Some times you just have to let it go (Let it go, let it go)
Leaving all my fears to burn down
Push them all away so I can move on
Closer to my dreams
Feel it all over my being
Close your eyes and see what you believe

I'm happy as long as we're apart
Then I'm moving on to my dreams

I'll be moving higher (Moving higher)
Closer to my dreams
And higher and higher, higher
Feel it in my being (I can feel it flow around me)
I know that I could not go alone (No, no)

I'm moving higher (Higher), oh...
I'm going higher and higher and higher (Higher and
Higher)
Closer to my dreams (Higher and higher, oh...oh...)
I'm moving upward and onward and beyond all I can see
(Stretching out my arms so I can reach)

Feels so close it's like i can just reach
I can feel my dreams (Closer to my dreams)
I'm moving closer to my dreams
I'm moving (Higher and higher) higher and higher
(Higher and higher)
Moving higher, oh...

Some times it feels like you never gon'change (Never gon'change)
But you never choose to walk away
Track Name: Ease Your Mind ft. Pep Love
You...
Me...
Maybe...

Well i was wondering
If you'd fly away with me
We'd go to a promise land
Some place, sometime to breath

You know i got faith in you
Put a little trust in me
We've got what eachother needs
So baby just believe

[Pep Love]
I do
You and I, I
You and me, we
Could come together and set this wourld free, please
Believe in this dream we gon weave
Cuz we believe in this theavin'
This heevin' this eve of distruction behind us
Let this love intertwined us and find us
Out of this bind plus
Peace your highness
Ease your mind
Its time to just chill and just build and just unwind

[chorus]
Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be

Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be

When i first looked at you
I knew there was something real
You're different from other men
Wanna give
To you what you've given me
There's no need to question these
Intentions that I have

Its the little suttle things
Excuses to make you smile
Come over just for a while
Dont wanna hold back any more

Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be

[Pep Love]
Infinity and beyond
The potential for this stretch is long
We on a higher eschelon
'n extra strong
When we're together theres no presseure just a song and
You inspire me
I empower you
We on some real shit
Cuz this is how we do
To let love live
We creatin a great theme
Amd makin a great team is Goapele sing

[Goapele]
Some people go
On looking for
Is a life time
Just to find what we have now so
Let the wind blow
Let the sun shine
Let the birds fly
Turn it up lets ride
Come on let catch a show
Escape a moments
In these tryin times you got me on a natural high

Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be

Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be

Ease you mind come chill with me
No more work just for a week
Its goin good
Now we can see
We were ment to be
Track Name: Got It
Ooooh

You caught me
Lookin' at you
Forgive me
But if it's treasures
You're seeking
I'm the one who
Could reach them
It's not the kind of thing
You wanna rush or hesitate
It could go
Far
If you step to me
Just come at me
With honesty and you might be mine
Oh

[chorus]
Hold on, got it good babby
Believe me it's all good baby baby
Hold on, got it good baby
Believe me it's all good baby baby

Oooh
So soft and
Effortlessly
I'm fallin'
So suddenly
You touch me
If it should be
I just might let in
Just think we could be anywhere
If i could choose
It'd be right here
And i don't let go easily
But something's taken over me

Hold on, got it good baby
Believe me it's all good baby baby
Hold on, got it good baby
Believe me it's all good baby baby

You're saying that our chemistry
Is poetry in motion
And whispering
So preciously
I second that emotion

Hold on, got it good babby
Believe me it's all good baby baby
Hold on, got it good baby
Believe me it's all good baby baby

Good
Track Name: Romantic ft. Soulive
[intro]
Oooooh, ooh, oh
Oooooh, ooh, oh

[verse 1]
Kiss my wounds
Love me tender
Buy me flowers i've never seen
Wake me up from my dreams
To bring me french toast and tea
In the morning light
Fly across country to spend
The night
You said you'd steer a boat across the atlantic

[chorus]
Cuz you're so fucking romantic
I can't stand
It
When i look in your eyes
Unconditionalness sweetness uncompromised
You set the standard for many things
I wasn't sure what it would (?) bring
You're so fucking romantic

[verse 2]
Other men wouldn't call
Just to say "i love you
Take your time
But i miss you
Is it okay
If i see you
I'll kiss you everywhere anywhere"
Damn sure, me
Please let this moment be
You're always tempting me

[chorus]

Cuz you're so fucking romantic

[chorus]

[verse 3]
We say the same words
At the same time
I start a sentence
You finish mine
Laugh at my jokes when i wanna cry
And when i feel lost
I look in your eyes
Even in front of your boys
You wouldn't lie
You say
"i gotta see my baby tonight"

[chorus 2x]

Cuz you're so fucking romantic
Kiss me 'til i'm frantic
Track Name: Too Much The Same
[verse 1]
Seeking a summertime love
Just kick it on the low
You know with a vibe and flow
But we didn't know
What the light of day would show
Or if it was meant to grow
How we'd feel within
What we ??

And why you kept that distance
Were your emotions ??
I was afraid of what i was feelin'
Afraid that you'd take my heart
And go steal it
My pride my soul
Now i know
Now i know

[chorus]
Cuz we were too much the same
I didn't know
Who to blame
Cuz i didn't wanna change

We were too much the same
I didn't know
Who to blame
Cuz you weren't gonna change

[verse 2]
Unfamiliar ways
They came down like rain
Things in myself i couldn't change
But if we coulda chilled
And waited a while
Then may now (?)
The shooting stars won't send us running
From each other
From ourselves

And when you got me open
You faked on me
Why'd you tell me that you love me
And then stray away
What you did that day
I promise i would never go waiting
For someone who couldn't ever change

[chorus]

[verse 3]
But you can't get something for nothing
So what was mine
Sifted through like lost time
And unclaimed sand in a desert wind
With half my heart i took you in
So i can let you go

[chorus]
Track Name: Catch 22
Nobody knows what I go through
Indecisions made me passive
They say I want my cake and I want to eat it too
Less satisfied if I don't, consequences when I do
These lessons, they lead me on my way
But when company is tempting me, I'm turned around
But I might wanna go that way,
Don't wanna go that way

Well, it's a catch 22
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do
Yes, it's a catch 22
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do

How many times does it take to learn just one thing,
'cause I keep ending up here
And I'm not a scientist so I just keep on praying that I won't
Keep getting the same results each day
I said that I can't be with you
But when you turn away I pull back your hands to stay
(your hands to stay)
So many days turn to years
That brought us here
And we (shied) through time without too many tears
But we still made decisions creating divisions
So many contradictions,
Why didn't we listen?

Well, it's a catch 22(catch 22)
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do
Yes, it's a catch 22
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do
(I'm damned if I don't, I'm damned if I do)

'Cause when I see you looking at her
I can't stand it, my eyes can't conceive
You gave her the smile you gave to me
I love you selfishly
I can feel so strongly
Oh, how you (throw) me
But still you know me
Oh, you know me

Yes, it's a catch 22,
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do
(damned if I do)
Yes, it's a catch 22, (catch 22)
Damned if I don't, Damned if I do
(I'm damned if I don't, I'm damned if I do)

To hell with all the promises we made,
The boundaries, the pain
I don't care who's wrong or right
Let's just ignore that tonight, I don't wanna fight
Where you lead me I'll follow
I won't stress on tomorrow
'cause I miss you like the moon misses the sky,
The waves miss the sand,
The leaves miss the breeze flowin' by
So come to me easy,
'cause I know you can please me

But it's a catch 22.... [repeat chorus til end]
Track Name: The Daze ft. Zion I & Casual
These are the Daze my friend
We're so far from the end
But we can't wait forever and a day
Forever and a Day

One for your City
Two if you're prissy
Three for the raw real homie
Rollin' wit' me
Four's like the voice in my head
Getting dizzy
Five get it so live
The cops come & get me
Six for the politrix
Seven call the Reverend
Eight DNA certain way
You a felon
Nine feeling fine
Even when the sun shady
Ten that's a dime
Goapele do it crazy

If you miss me when I'm gone
Just know riding on a sky plain
You never know
I could be wrong
Sometimes I'm weak
When I feel strong

Push on
Be strong
Don't wait
Lean on
Sometimes
Pray on
Hold on
Because
These are the Daze
You gotta go for broke
I'm taking all my chances
And if you're scared of transit...
Run for cover
Light is fading
It's getting dark
The sun is fading

Oh they told me

Live today
Like your gonna live forever
Tomorrow paves the way
For the rest of your life
Even if we lose some along the way
It's not worth the hate
No time to hate

Black prophet
Still grandma collar poppin
Do anything for a twenty dollar profit
They push into yo kitchen til yo momma holla stop it
If it ain't first class
Then I'mma try the cockpit
Had some ups & downs
Been dumped around
It's nothing
'Cuz we ain't sufferin' now
For life we lusted
In God we trust
But now don't discuss it
We going for bust

Hold tight
It's not
Too late
Take it
Right now
It's in
Your hands
Because
These are the days we gotta go for broke
I'm taking all my chances
And if you're scared of transit...
Run for cover
Light is fading
Its getting dark
The sun is fading
Track Name: Things Don't Exist
In my fear,
I fear
We're seas apart in old worlds.
We began,
In vibrant colors,
But one of the things you said
And i dread it.
That everything turns grey,
This is where i stray

I, I want so badly,
To say that these things dont exist anymore.
When that indigo
Creeps upon me i cant deny
That i'm blue,
And not like you

When I look into your eyes at times
It's within them i find
A love i never knew,
Still i'm bound to you.
Something inside so strong,
Wont settle in me somehow, i'm not free.

I want so badly, to say that these things dont exist anymore.
When that indigo creeps apon me i cant deny
That i'm blue.

It's past mistakes not hearts that break,
In moral laws respect they take and
Now
It still effects me to.
If my one enemy is me,
Then tell me how to stay true and not be blamed by you.

I, I want so badly to say that these things
Anymore.
When that indigo
I cant deny that i'm blue.
I, I want so badly to say that these things dont exist anymore.
When that indigo creeps upon me i cant deny
That i'm blue,
And not like you.
Track Name: Childhood Drama
I never wanted to be, like every other child abandoned in childhood drama (oh)
I always felt that I was the exception to the rule but now who's the fool
You won't give me your love your love
So when you left me I filled up that empty place and never told it's still hollow (it's still hollow)
Can't you see potential you have and what you dreamed if it's not based in reality
And your denial is a tragedy
And your excuses backed up by love can hinder more than a brave risk you take even if it cracks on this floor
You won't give me your love
You weren't living your love
You won't give me your love
Your love

So when you left me I filled up that empty place and never told it's still hollow (it's still hollow)
Why is it you believe that to quit is better than really trying to succeed
I wish you'd stayed to guide me
It seems that I, I don't fit in anywhere that I can see
I can't follow your lead, oh

You won't give me your love
You weren't living your love
You won't give me your love
You weren't living your love
You won't give me your love
Your love

So when you left me I filled up that empty place and never told it's still hollow
So I walk to the shore to cry my tears in the ocean
I can see that looking in my eyes ain't enough to bring you back no more
Back no more

You won't give me your love
You weren't living your love [repeat till fade]
Track Name: Salvation
I'm searchin for my salvation
Oh yeah
I'm tired of dragging
On and on
On and on
Day by day
Days with days ?
I can feel the pain
The world is resting on my brain
I can feel the hurt of a broken child
She's going insane
I pray that she'll make it home
Home [3X]
Times have changed
But we can rearrange the ills?
Society has swept on my feet
Some words I can't even speak
Still pressin
Movin forward
Blindly
Without a trace
Lookin for a reason to go on
On [3X]
I pray to an unknown God
Please reveal yourself to me
Cuz hope is sifting from my hands
Like lost time
I can't make believe
I won't make believe
I can't make believe
When I look into your eyes
Do you know me
I'm searchin for my soul
Searchin on
On
Praying on
On
Looking on
On
I am searching
I am praying
I am looking
Searching on
On
Praying on
On
Looking on
On
On
On
For my salvation.
Track Name: Back To You
I'm sitting in my room
Thinking back on you,
Memories pass;
My head was leaned against your face
Partly on your shoulder, curving your neck.
I tried to clear my thoughts of stress
And let go of the day,
How it began,
Whispered your name-

[chorus]
Soft white lights between us falling
Forming into precious flowers, chartreuse
Beautiful and floating down on us
Sparkles flying towards us dancing all around us
Vanish in air

But you left before you knew
A future holding you.
All you saw of me-
My heart should speak for me,
Then you'd understand
That push away-
It craves compassion and
Strong arms to hold her.

You and me
Revolving
Angel wings
Fluttering
Orange gold
Sunsets bold
Star filled nights
Sweet as Fantasia

And still
A glow surrounding you
The dandelions blew
Our wishes to the wind
Come and bring him back again

[chorus]
Soft white lights between us falling
Forming into precious flowers, chartreuse
Beautiful and floating down on us
Sparkles flying towards us dancing all around us
Vanish in air

And I wonder how you felt
-I was melting inside
Opened my eyes
-Felt so bright I was blind
The car we hadn't left
I closed the door
Behind
-And I wished you would take me away.

You left before I waved.
By then it was too late.
I wished on the moon
I'd always remember-

You and me
Revolving
Angel wings
Fluttering
Orange gold
Sunsets bold
Star filled nights
Sweet as Fantasia

[chorus]
Soft white lights between us falling
Forming into precious flowers, chartreuse
Beautiful and floating down on us
Sparkles flying towards us dancing all around us
Vanish in air
Track Name: Butterflykisses
You cam eto me in a dream
All the qualities I asked for
In a man
Just understand me
Love me as you know me
I'll let yo know me well
I don't anticipate putting up a gate
Or shelter around my heart.
I intend to find the good in side
Promise the real you
So pure
So I can give you

[chorus]
Butterflykisses
And pleasure you can feel
I'll daze you, even bathe you
If you remain to keep it real

If you love me, love my mother;
Know you my father
Hang with my brother.
Don't discriminate
Or isolate me,
Please let me be myself
I want to wear what I want to wear
And say whats on my mind.
Please be kind
So I can give you

[chorus]
Butterflykisses
And pleasure you can feel
I'll daze you, even bathe you
If you remain to keep it real

Now that you're here
My visions clear.
I'm drenched in love.
Fly like a dove,
And walking through my life with you
Is a blessin oh so sweet-

[chorus]
Butterflykisses
And pleasure you can feel
I'll daze you, even bathe you
If you remain to keep it real
Track Name: It Takes More
He was fourteen years old
All his life he never left
The west side (oh)
I walked past him everyday
Heading downtown
Always on the go
He was the kind of guy you never gave your real name to
So young but still trying to game you
But what he was going through
I never knew

Its such a same
How people change
And I never really knew his name
But it takes more than two to raise a youth
And for that we all did lose
Because if one of us had noticed you
How I wish I was there for you
I was busy filling my own shoes

All his life
He heard "You won't amount to nothing"
Low expectations
In need of money
Few too many choices
And no patience
So what do you know
For a good cash flow
You can always sell
It's easy to fit the role
But when your living the fast life
He considered all times a go

Its such a same
How people change
And I never really knew his name
But it takes more than two to raise a youth
And for that we all did lose
Because if one of us had noticed you
How I wish I was there for you
I was busy filling my own shoes

Is that how he came around
For his child he'll know now
'Cause he left him with bruises
His words just abusive
The love he didn't show
And what his boy was going through
He had never imagined
But when love turns to hate
It's the worse out of passion
His son was bold
And by then it was too late
From his friend they get console
Then his hands, his shoes
The life or death they couldn't hold
Oh- two seconds cold
He was fourteen years old
Locked up until he's old

Its such a same
How moments change
And I never really knew his name
But it takes more than two to raise a youth
And for that we all did lose
Because if one of us had noticed you
How I wish I was there for you
I was busy filling my own shoes