Friday, November 11, 2011

Electric Relaxation: Maxwell "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)"

Haven't done a Relaxation post in a while so let me reintroduce what this is about. Every so often, I'll post one of my favorite songs and break down why I love it. It can be an old or new song but it's just my chance to get my music critic on and show a little more than sports.

Maxwell has always been one of my favorite R&B singers. When I think of neo-soul, he's one of the first faces that comes to mind and so does this song. I remember hearing it on the smooth jazz station Mom would always play to put us to sleep after school and liking it but when I got older, it stuck to me like glue.

The song title alone is perfect cause hearing it makes you feel lifted up as soon as that subtle bass comes in. If you can't smile during that intro, frankly, you don't have a soul. It sets the mood perfect than Maxwell comes right in crooning the way he can.

"So shouldn't I realize 
You're the highest of the high 
If you don't know, then I'll say it 
So don't ever wonder"

If you've ever been with someone who makes you smile, that chorus hits you perfectly. I love how Maxwell lets each line breathe and you can feel his emotion with every word. That's how good singing is supposed to be. It's what's missing from a lot of R&B, that soul in knowing that every word means something you have to sing it like you mean it.

Maxwell's one of the smoothest singers around and this might be him at his most smooth/jazzy. I listened to it this week to help me relax after being overwhelmed by the Penn State news. It always puts me in a good mood and makes me feel I'm being elevated out of whatever state I'm in.

To me, this is the smoothed out, jazz version of Sly and the Family Stone "Higher" - instead of taking you higher with energy, it's taking you higher with love. Someday I have to see him live because his showmanship is heavily underrated.

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