Step aside Cee Loo Green, there’s a new contender for the title of King Of Noveau Soul, and that’s Aloe Blacc (real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins, fact fans!). Blacc has been ripping up the charts with a wonderfully authentic soul tune. His vocals on the track are widely being likened to legendary soul man Bill Withers.
One listen to I Need A Dollar should tell you why.
Where this song works is that it’s channelling a classic musical style, but the theme of scrimping for extra money is something that modern hip-hop artists have been obsessed with for years. In that way, I Need A Dollar bridges eras and musical genres almost effortlessly. And of course we’re still reeling from the economic crisises of recent years, making the song all the more relevant.
We could talk about relevance until the cows come home, but without a great hook, the single would be a flop. Fortunately, Blacc has a talent for evoking a downtrodden desperation in his vocal, along with the “need a dollar” refrain. The hard luck story of being fired by the “boss man” also brings a brilliant, bluesy vibe to proceedings.
Coupled with a stylish, cinematic video that follows Blacc through some mean city streets as he looks for work, I Need A Dollar may have just nudged itself into “instant classic” territory. Nice to see such a retro track finding a place in the modern charts. I hope it inspires fans to go out and check Blacc’s vintage soul influences.