Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tweet "Southern Hummingbird" (2002)

Released: May 2002
Label: The Goldmine Inc./ Elektra
Produced by: Nisan, Jubu, Craig Brockman, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Timbaland and Charlene “Tweet” Keys
Highest UK Chart Position: 15

1. So Much To Say (Intro)
2. My Place
3. Smoking Cigarettes
4. Best Friend
5. Always Will
6. Boogie 2Nite
7. Oops (Oh My)
8. Make Ur Move
9. Motel
10. Beautiful
11. Complain
12. Heaven
13. Call Me
14. Drunk
15. Southern Hummingbird (Outro)

This follows on from the late night soul of Janet Jackson’s “Lonely” and the gentler corners of Anita Baker’s “Rapture”. “Southern Hummingbird” is a seriously laid-back record. It might seem odd to draw comparisons between it and the Blue Nile, but listening to things like “Always Will” and “Beautiful”, I’m always reminded of the Blue Nile’s “Hats” album: both are sparse and electronic, snail-paced at times, frequently moving and naggingly catchy. It sounds great at the dead of a particularly balmy night in the summertime. Sometimes it’s so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop while it’s playing. Call it a weird synaesthesia or leap on my part, but while listening to “Southern Hummingbird” I picture traffic lights changing on deserted city streets at 4am. Even the most uptempo, dancey track here – “Boogie 2nite” which, brilliantly, was covered by Booty Luv – has a lazy loping groove. “Oops (Oh My)” was the lead single – a brave record (alluding to female masturbation) which made the Top 10 in the summer of 2002. The best tracks here are to be found on what I suppose they used to call side two. “Motel”, “Beautiful”, “Heaven”, “Drunk” and even the slightly more danceable “Call Me” are all ambient r’n’b wonders. The overall effect is to lead the listener into a world which you can really feel lost in. This sort of restrained, modern, post-electro, post-millennial soul represents the most forward looking pop of our time. Equal effort seems to be spread between writing cracking witty lyrics, dreaming up lovely melodies and building sound collages to rival those of Brians Wilson and Eno. “Southern Hummingbird” is certainly one of the ten best albums I’ve heard this decade. Such a simple album, so unfussy, so addictive and beautiful. The five mp3s I post here are all great but there are a lot more where they came from here, so I urge you to buy this album. Seriously.

Tomorrow: Diana Ross "diana"