Goapele's Break Of Dawn (Review)
Credit: "Play" video still (fair use)

R&B has needed resuscitation for sometime. The largely wacktastic, watered down synth and autotune laziness that's flooded the radio has caused many a music connoisseur to turn off the mainstream mind pollution and look into indie music avenues. Goapele has always been an underground mainstay for listeners in the know, but much deserved recognition eluded the activist and songtress in her earlier work. "Break Of Dawn" may be the disc that alters her recognition level, and if the mainstream buyers are lucky, it will introduce her authentic soul offerings to their sorely deprived demographic.

Break Of Dawn is a shorter disc, sticking to 9 songs, but it offers 8 tracks that can easily become enduring favorites on their own merit ( in contrast to the hypno-spins of payola radio that condition people into liking the lesser tracks of manufactured robot"artists"...). Goapele's disc opens with the slinky, boombast of "Play" then moves onto the very well-crafted and delivered old-soul of "Tears On My Pillow" and "Undertow."

The title track "Break Of Dawn" that follows the crooning ( that will accompany the Haagen-Daz of many someones moving forward) is an uptempo, 80's tinged dance-hit (not in the house-music on E sense) floating on a Goapele signature-inspired theme (these we cannot get enough of). It's a cute, lightweight for-fun track.          

"Hush" is a comfort song supported by a subtle and slightly haphazard funk ballad track that follows.

"Money" rises up in the LP's middle with an old-style-funk-meets-Prince type groove. Goapele's raspy vocals suit the track and its theme entirely. Expect a clamor among advertisers to pick up licensing on this one starting now.

The wispy ballad "Pieces" follows with bittersweet intergalactic sentiments celebrating the what-ifs and miss-yous so familiar to the new love experience. It's a truly beautiful piece of music. Easily one of the strongest tracks on the album.

"Right Here" is probably the weakest track from a real music standpoint. It's heavily formulaic and trendy enough to win the tween fans that are still riding the synthpop-meets-corporate-hiphop wave. The album could have easily done without it. It's presence is fairly disjointed from the classic feel of the LP. Not at all happy with the exec that pushed for this one (Bad call, homey).

The final track of the album, "Milk and Honey," is win all over.  It's jazzed out version (also win) is replaced with a golden-era hiphop (the shiny suits sort) club feel that suits its very well.


Overall, "Break Of Dawn" is almost perfect and definitely buyable. Give thanks for more Goapele.


Goapele - Play