ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

Erykah Badu

New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War (Motown)

The only thing resembling a pop single on Erykah Badu's latest opus is an afterthought tacked on as a hidden track. "Honey" is sweet and tasty, but Badu's brave New Amerykah is a liberated land, a wild embrace of experimentation, and a gleeful if occasionally paranoid freak-fest. A supercharged futuristic funk groove kicks things off like a lost P-Funk outtake, and if Funkadelic made albums today, it's easy to imagine them sounding like this (even the cover art raises a fist to Maggot Brain). Two songs unlike anything in contemporary music anchor the set: "My People" is a dense forest of swirling sounds and intoxicating chants as ahead of its time as the 1972 Eddie Kendricks anthem it resurrects, while Badu hums the names of deities in a meditative mantra on "The Healer" before boldly proclaiming hip-hop bigger than religion. In Badu's Amerykah, we all pray to the same beat. (4:30pm, AT&T stage.)

****

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