Raphael Saadiq

The Way I See It (Columbia)

Phases & Stages

Raphael Saadiq

The Way I See It (Columbia)

How long cats can pretend it's 1965 is anyone's guess, but if the results sound this uncanny, who's complaining? Former Tony! Toni! Toné! singer Raphael Saadiq re-creates the Motown sound like no one before him, "Keep Marchin'" echoing the civil rights era message music of Sam Cooke and the Staple Singers, while Motor City monster "100 Yard Dash" demands a sprint to the dance floor. Saadiq's tenor cruises down Smokey Robinson Boulevard on the Joss Stone-guested "Just One Kiss," and Stevie Wonder blows harp on "Never Give You Up." Despite the Jimmy Ruffin cover pose, The Way I See It offers a few subtle hints of the present. The brass-laden "Big Easy" sheds tears over broken levees, and Saadiq propositions his boo with new-millennium bluntness on "Let's Take a Walk." Tony! Toni! Toné! has done it again!

***.5

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