Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See ItThe Way I See It - "On the crimson-tinted cover of The Way I See It (Columbia), Raphael Saadiq induces nostalgia. Calling to mind memories of The Temptations, peering through David Ruffin-esque glasses, and holding a skinny microphone, Saadiq seems well suited for a trip back in time. Four years after his sophomore solo effort Ray Ray (Pookie Entertainment), the former Tony! Toni! Toné! front man channels the 1960s Motown sound on his slow rolling third set. His gentle crooning tiptoes in Smokey Robinson fashion, coasting over a sea of old-school tambourines and guitar melodies.
The Way I See It is stocked with short, romantic cuts like “Just One Kiss,” featuring Joss Stone and “Oh Girl.” The vulnerable lyrics and layered vocal arrangements mirror songs that once incited crowds to do the twist and slow-drag on the dance floor. On “Big Easy,” a trumpet-filled nod to his missing New Orleans beau, a lovesick Saadiq weeps about the girl he lost to Hurricane Katrina’s fury. And befitting to the classic theme, Stevie Wonder drops in for a harmonica cameo on “Like It” (continued).
Album cover for "The Way I See it"
Raphael Saadiq tapped his early influences to create a breezy medley of soul music that is a unique alternative to his previous work. While the new direction is sturdy and refreshing, there is something comfortably familiar about it. The vintage shoes fit Saadiq, and he wears them well.