Album Review: Liv.e – Couldn’t Wait to Tell You

Artist NameLiv.e
Album NameCouldn’t Wait To Tell You.
Release TypeAlbum
Release DateJuly 31, 2020
Record LabelIn Real Life Records
Review AuthorMarvin Twiggs

Arriving on a swell of casually poetic verses, blissfully warm melodies, and a smoky alto that’s delicately mesmerizing, singer Liv.e (pronounced “liv”) nestles herself deep inside our spirit with her album Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… The young and ascending performer showcases her knack for crafting hazy and wavy soul numbers that reveal deeper layers of lyrical and melodic substance with repeat listenings.

Either by chance or divine design, Liv.e’s life has a tangible connection to the near-mythical singer/producer/actress Erykah Badu. Both hail from Dallas, TX. They both attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. And they both share a mastery of making off-the-beaten-path R&B music that’s seasoned with elements of jazz, hip-hop, and funk. This notable connection recently manifested itself in a whole new way as Badu hosted a live-streaming album release party for Liv.e‘s new project – a set that allows the young vocalist to gracefully wrap her voice around easy-flowing, low-lit productions that drip soulfulness like honey.   After a swirly and conversational introductory number, the tune “How It Made Me Feel” sets things off on a dreamlike course as Liv.e’s wispy vocals dip and dive around a lo-fi jazz loop that feels as if it was cherry-picked from a dusty Zip drive in Madlib‘s home studio. The super chill, shoegazing number creates a really soothing mood that allows listeners to let down their guard and ease comfortably into the rest of the album. The organic and loosely structured coolness of “How It Made Me Feel” continues to bob to the surface of Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… on numbers like the ethereal and bluesy “About Love at 21”, on a pair of swaying and spontaneously flowing soul breezes called “She’s My Brand New Crush” and “LazyEaterBetsOnHerLikeness”, as well as on the vulnerable yet somehow sultry ‘I’ve Been Livin“. The dusty vinyl vibe of that last track has an equally eclectic video to accompany it – one that captures the left-field spirit of the song by casting our heroine in a VHS-style video shoot that is filled with supersaturated colors, some urban cowboy wares, and bleary-eyed imagery that’s not unlike the cult-classic film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Understandably, some readers may fear that the album finds one stylistic lane and sticks to it incessantly. Even though the album does center itself around a very laid-back vibe, it also offers up some welcomed mood-change moments in the form of tracks like the fluttering freestyle “Bout These Pipedreams”, a bubbly spoken-word number called “Lessons From My Mistakes…but I Lost Your Number”, and a subtle flicker of earthy Afrofuturism that is aptly titled “Cut to the Chase”. There’s also a bumpin’ hip-hop soul piece called “You the One Fish in the Sea” that delivers some straight-ahead R&B energy after leaving listeners awash in sunlit notes from a 70’s-era synthesizer.   With Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… Liv.e expands on the absorbing, almost hypnotic, sounds of such soul music visionaries as Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and (not surprisingly) Erykah Badu. She places an emphasis on creating sumptuous musical dishes as opposed to churning out highly refined sugar that can be hungrily consumed then easily forgotten. After giving myself enough time to really digest the album, I can say with confidence that it will leave you feeling quite connected to the old-soul behind the music and eagerly wanting another serving from her musical platter.   You can listen to Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… now, on all streaming services, courtesy of In Real Life Music.


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