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CD: Chaka Khan - Hello Happiness | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Chaka Khan - Hello Happiness

CD: Chaka Khan - Hello Happiness

The Queen of Funk gets down with her latest comeback

Hello Happiness: funk and escapism

Chaka Khan’s last album, 2007’s Funk This was billed as the Queen of Funk’s comeback after her 80s and 90s purple patch. But after its release, apart from the odd cameo vocal on other people’s tracks, she stepped back out of the spotlight and retreated back into relative obscurity. 12 years on and she’s back again with the groove-driven Hello Happiness – an album with her new label owners, former Major Lazer man Switch and Ruba Taylor’s contributions all over both the songwriting and the production. Gone are the anthemic dancefloor vibes of “Ain’t Nobody” and “I Feel For You”, to be replaced by a seam of Seventies funk and disco jams – an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

“Don’t Cha Know” is a Seventies funk guitar and synth monster, dowsed in George Clinton Parliament-Funkadelic vibes and a sampled Flavor Flav “Come on now!” loop. Like the opening title track, where Chaka croons “If you’re feeling unsure / I’ve got the cure”, it is the soundtrack to the dancefloor as a place to break free, where swinging hips and funky feet are enough to wave the blues away. Chaka sure doesn’t have anything to say about the big bad world but pure escapism certainly has its place in these uncertain times.

Hello Happiness isn’t just an ode to heady Seventies disco vibes though. “Too Hot” is a jazzy-blues number with a funky spine and “Isn’t That Enough” even the boasts a reggae-funk groove, with an ample serving of dubwise production. However, while Switch and Taylor’s influence is obvious throughout the album, Chaka’s singing voice is remarkably intact, given that she’s now well into her sixties and her former bad habits. Let’s hope she sticks around for a bit longer this time - before she really does knock the singing game on the head for good.

Pure escapism certainly has its place in these uncertain times

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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