I wanted to talk about a particular album here, because when one hears great music they shouldn't keep it to themselves. You want to spread the word.
From the first time I put on BLACKsummers'night I was blown away. This is an absolutely stellar SOUL record. Not an R&B record, at least not the joke modern R&B has become. This ranks with great soul records - we're talking Marvin and Stevie and Al and Prince soul here. It's a mature record. Heck, it ought to be considering Maxwell fans have been waiting 8 years for it (unlike, say, Guns 'N' Roses, who waited an eternity of their own and delivered a piece of crap record). The lyrics are about mature relationship topics and are well-crafted. The grooves are rock solid - special kudos to drummer Chris "Daddy" Dave.
I encourage you to seek this record out on your own and form your own opinions, but I, for one, am sold. This is a great record.
So what is my caveat? It is two-fold.
Firstly, the album clocks in at less than 39 minutes. When an album is this good, and the wait has been this long, then you want something to savor. This reminds me of how Van Halen and Weezer have released records over the years: short, sweet, powerful, but leaving the listener wanting so much more from the act.
Secondly, BLACKsummers'night is Part I of a three-part trilogy. As per All Music Guide:
BLACKsummers'night is the first release of a trilogy, with BlackSUMMERS'night (rooted in gospel, with a twist, apparently) and Blacksummers'NIGHT (promised as a disc of slow jams) to follow.
So, after 8 years, we fans have a short, albeit outstanding, album... and we know there are two finished releases yet to come. Now, this is a different time, and music delivery systems are much different than back in the LP era, but do you think Stevie Wonder would have released Songs in the Key of Life as three separate volumes of a "trilogy?" HELL NO!
And, after working in the record industry for the better part of a decade I can tell you exactly how this will go down:
- Part I released to public on CD and digitally. Several "exclusives" are given to different online and physical retailers.
- In a few months there will be some live tracks sold as a digital-only EP.
- Part II released to public on CD and digitally. #s 1 & 2 repeated again.
- Part III released to public on CD and digitally.
COMPLETE trilogy released as a whole album concept.
DELUXE trilogy package will be released with extra goodies in packaging or additional bonus tracks.
Additional online exclusive tracks will be released.
So, at several stages of the trilogy life cycle, the record company stands to make a buck, and the fan gets screwed.
I say release the full trilogy NOW, and let the fans bask in the glow of it. Maxwell has created some fantastic music here, and even though his music is well worth the wait, don't make us wait any longer or go through the excruciating process of trying to find ALL of the music created around this project at different retailers or sites.
I'd love it if, for once, the record companies treated their customers fairly in that regard.