For more than ten years, Erykah Badu has been a staple of the neo-soul genre. Dubbed the Queen of Neo Soul, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh is the result of Ms. Badu’s two-year hiatus. Erykah Badu’s Return of the Ankh is an eleven-song album that mixes sampling, live instruments, and Badu’s organic sound to create a downbeat experience. Let’s see whether the second installment is worth the wait with our Return of the Ankh album review.
The opener “20 Feet Tall,” is a varied exchange of soul and sonic jazz, while the album’s first single “Window Seat” hearkens back to that of “Back in the Day (Puff)” from 2003’s Worldwide Underground with its striking piano groove and a sweet undercurrent of Badu’s smoldering vocal. It is evident Ms. Badu is comfortable in this zone as the cut is easy on the ears. The following song “Turn Me Away,” takes a relic from Sylvia Striplin’s “Can’t Turn Me Away,” which was also used on the Junior Mafia hit “Get Money.”
Erykah Badu’s Return of the Ankh approaches seductive precision on “Umm Hmm.” Hints of eccentricity and musical genius gush from the moment she takes to the mic, while “You Loving Me (Session)” is a quick blurb that manages to stand out despite its length. “Out My Mind, Just in Time” closes out Return of the Ankh and feels like a revisit to Baduizm with its overwhelming focus on the beat. The long-run approach to the track is both favorable and noticeable.
The Queen of Neo-Soul has a gem on her hands that with enough polish in the sales department could go down as her finest work to date.
New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh album review
This album receives a PARLÉ
PARL… Kinda Great
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Image Credit: Kevin Benoit | Parle Mag