Albums I Wish Everyone Knew: “Lady” By Lady

LadyI am making an exception for this particular record. You probably don’t know Lady, and if there was just one song that really could really sell them, you’d be reading another routine “Songs I Wish Everyone Knew” post. However, this album is so incredibly dynamic that it would be criminal not to present it as a unit. Lady, essentially just vocalist Nicole Wray and her backing back, is a soul group that has a rare authenticity without sounding intentionally nostalgic. All of the nuances that made records from Motown or Stax so legendary is present , but their self titled debut is not a throwback; the recordings have that live quality to them, but they’re still clearly polished. Every single track has something noteworthy and memorable about it, from the funky bass line of standouts “Get Ready” the the chilling climactic explosions of the slow jam “Karma,” but what really sticks out is the melodies. The way Wray’s velvety vocals wrap so powerfully around each and every hook brings the songs to life and creates a compact, 11 track series of knock outs. What makes Lady so noteworthy is how it doesn’t quite read quite as modern as something Janelle Monáe would record, something as authentic and pure as Jill Scott, or something as bombastic as Amy Winehouse, but there’s a comfortable familiarity to it. For me, the absolute highlights are the infectious “Money,” which will have you singing along after one listen, the groovy “Please Don’t Do It Again” with its dazzling syncopated melody, and “If You Wanna Be My Man,” a laidback jam that could have been a ’70s Smokey Robinson outtake. You’ll find countless highlights on your own, though. I could take the time to go track by track, but nothing is going to make Lady as enjoyable as actually listening to it. So please do yourself a favor and experience this flawless record. If you love soul and R&B, this will enhance your collection significantly.



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