Album Review: Bilal – “In Another Life”

 

 

bilal

 

The veteran soul singer/songwriter/musician Bilal released his fifth studio album In Another Life on June 30th, 2015. His last album A Love Surreal was in 2013. In Another Life is solely produced by Adrian Younge.  Bilal and Loren Oden are credited as main songwriters as well.

 

The first song to start off the album is “Sirens II”. The legendary Ali Shaheed Muhammad is playing on the Fender Rhodes and Mellotron. It seems like this song sets the tone of the album, very intense and gritty with the slight feel of finesse lyrically and musically. “Star Now” is a superb transition, the lyrics and instrumentation takes you away and you forget the song is only two minutes long. “Open Up The Door” creates some beautiful metaphors and fine instrumentation throughout the song. “I Really Don’t Care”, you can definitely feel vocally Donny Hathaway with a slight hint of a Stevie Wonder vocal combination vibe. This song is oozing with soulful jazz runs.

“Pleasure Toy” is featuring rapper BIG K.R.I.T., very 80’s inspired Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” energy to it. “Satellites” is the next song, which is the first single off of the album, and “Lunatic” follows up. Edgy-rock instrumentation, it feels like Prince spiritually took a hold of his vocal chords and let loose on this song. “Money Over Love” the second single which is featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar. A Curtis Mayfield inspired type of vibe.”Love Child” has an elegant and sensual rim shot, with flowing lyrics and instrumentation.

“Holding It Back” is featuring singer Kimbra, their voices blended very well together, and the song is very relaxing musically. “Spiraling” has amazing drum licks, very strong drumming. The lyrics are talking about being out of control with the love. The last song from the album is “Bury Me Next To You”. Very nice harmonies, and the musical arrangements are superb. Specifically, the electric bass and guitar.

 

This album is very cinematic, edgy, sensual, romantic, and feels like you are in a time warp in future time from a 70’s classic action movie.  Adrian Younge’s style of late 60’s and 70’s vintage soul mixed with gritty hip hop drumming gives you a visual of this album being more like a movie soundtrack then an album. It is amazing that this album was made in such a short time. It feels like it would have taken longer to come up with these songs and instrumentation, but the obvious chemistry with Younge and Bilal on this album makes it all seem effortless. The heavy music lovers, can definitely pull out their crates of vinyls to try to get a clue of what classics inspired this album, but this album overall sums up Bilal’s diverse musicality, and open mindedness to collaborate with new talent.

 

 

In Another Life is available in stores now, and also for (digital) purchase via iTunes and Amazon Music.