Saturday, May 14, 2005

Billy Miles

Sultry is the word that comes to mind first.

Sultry, slow, slinky, simmering, sexy beats and grooves...uniformly mid-tempo but not a bit boring for that...accented and embellished with expert keyboards, muted electronica fills, judiciously used samples, and carefully-placed bursts of sweet guitar work. It's a soulful "quiet storm" in all of the best senses of that overused phrase.

Miles' voice is one of those which hints of other voices...echoes in the phrasing, in the timbre, in the resonance, in the vibe...while establishing and maintaining a unique, compelling identity of its own. The first touchpoint that comes to mind is, unmistakably, Erykah Badu (and, through her, Billie Holiday) but you can also feel hints of Sade, bits of Macy Gray...but Miles is no carbon copy, she blends her influences into a tasty musical gumbo that is all her own.

The songs, mostly co-written by Andre Williams and Miles herself, seep into the consciousness without overstaying their welcome (the longest tune, the bittersweet "Your Love's a Lie", clocks in at 4 1/2 minutes...most hover around a compact 3 minutes or so)...they make the point and move along (a refreshing change from songs that noodle around for 5 or 6 minutes for no good reason...and to no redeeming effect.)

Billy Miles is a soothing, funky, utterly delightful CD.

(And for the record, I'm nominating the loping, catchy "Sunshine" as one of the tunes that would make a great anthem for the summer of '05.)


Stacie said...

I checked her out based on your say, and I liked it. I bought "Sunshine" from iTunes, and I may get more sometime soon. Thanks!

obliquity said...

Since I downloaded her album from iTunes, I have repeatedly listened to it. I'm entranced by her voice and passion. I completely agree with your assessment of 'Sunshine'.

Helen said...

I am most certainly going to check this out. Reading your posts in the past, I see we have some similarities in music so I trust that I will enjoy this. Thanks!