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Friday, April 1, 2011

Musiq Soulchild meets the press. But will his new album meet expectations?

  • Courtesy of Saptosa Foster of 135th Agency

About 30 local journalists and bloggers gathered for lunch in an upper room of the Buckhead location of the Italian restaurant chain Maggiano’s yesterday to meet Musiq Soulchild, known as much for his contributions to the soul movement as he is for his odd orthographic album titles.

His new joint, Musiqinthemagiq (Musiq in the Magic) drops May 3. The first single, “Anything,” is a Swizz Beats-assisted, old-school style jam sampling Central Line’s “Walkin’ Into Sunshine,” á la L.L. Cool J’s “Jinglin’ Baby."

Musiq sat at the head of the table, dressed in a three-piece suit and tie. He talked about his love for the A: “I’ve been here for about three years now, since February. I love the people, I love the energy. It’s a hub for creative people. It reminds me a lot of Philadelphia,” he said, “There’s a lot of trendsetting things that happen in Atlanta, rather than just looking to New York and L.A. It’s definitely becoming that mecca that people talk about. It’s very inspiring for creative people.”

During the three-course meal, reps from Atlantic Records also played a few video clips, including “Radio” (from his previous album, Onmyradio), with its unapologetically hollow production and the kind of glossy club treatment that made it look like a parody of commercial R&B.

When asked if his move here changed his music," he said he “wanted to contribute to that legacy of Atlanta sound."

Overall, the reception of Musiqinthemagiq was warm, but then again the well-fed journalists and bloggers had little to complain about. Many opted to take photos and reunite with one another rather than clamor to get a brief one-on-one with Musiq after the main press conference.

As for his label's recent “urban” projects, Atlantic continues to do what the remaining majors have done to stay afloat: Appeal to the least discriminating of mainstream tastes. (Remember B.o.B.’s The Adventures of Bobby Ray and Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers?) No one said this directly, but it is hard to believe that the soul aficionados that make up Musiq’s original fanbase would rather have the soulster engaging in empty pandering to a diluted, if not dying, Southern sound than get another helping of his original Philly flavor.

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