I think I get the best musical experience when I listen to music through headphones. Not the cheesy white ones that come stock with your ipod, but really hi-tech earbuds that fit snug in your ear canal or big cushy studio headphones with massive bass response. I’m the type of audiophile that wants to hear all of the subtle nuances within the track. Those nuances that exist in frequencies that get lost when sound travels through the air. Most of the time that’s where the real magic is. For the last six years that has been how I’ve experienced the magic of Joi Starr. Practically adjoined at the hip as if siamese twins, we were the deadly harmonic duo on every major stage around the world behind Kanye. Anyone that ever snuck a peek at a Kanye sound check surely would’vd heard me screaming to the monitor mix engineer to “gimmie more of Joi in my ears… more… more.” I’ve heard identical twins, or in even spouses speak of being in such sync with each other that they knew what the other was going to do before they did it, just by a look. Joi and I could weave background vocals around and through each other without ever colliding on a pitch black stage without a single glance… because she’s always in my ears. Because of this, I am probably one of the most qualified people to offer up a review of her latest mixtape project Broccoli and Noodles, but instead of a review I’ve decided to just write a ‘thank you’ letter to my lil sis..
Thank you Joi, for doing YOU. The world only needs one Beyonce. It’s not everyday that we get new artist that offer up something that is uniquely them. These days there are few artists that can lay claim to having there own vocal styles, but instead, having everything from vocal riffs to their vocal cadence seeming as if it were taken from a Simplicity (sewing) pattern.
Thank you Joi, for having one of the best vocal tones in the game. It seems these days that artist would rather sacrifice tone for vocal acrobatics (although she has amazing voice control as well). Broccoli and Noodles hi-lites how amazingly pure Joi’s vocal tone is. Erykah Badu once said to me, “Joi sounds like she has electronics in her throat..”, (well stated, E). Not to mention how I had to step my tonal game up from having to blend with her night after night… quite a tall order.
Thank you Joi, for the classic remakes. “Sunny” is breathtaking. That joint was written (1966, by Bobby Hebb) during a time when the songwriting was as much a feature of the song as the vocalists ability. Everything about this track takes me back to some good ole times. Thanks for taking a classic doo-wop song like “Earth Angel” and putting a honky tonk twist to it. That took nuts. I like it. I remember backing Joi up at an open mic at a random bar in London when she performed “Kiss of Life” over the top of Alicia Keys’ “Unbreakable” groove. That ones a gem.
Thank you Joi, for offering up a collection of songs that show your diverse taste. In an era where a handful of producers dominate the musical landscape and labels force projects down consumers throats which are laden with generic radio single sounding cuts, albums usually get heavy on the ear by track four. Broccoli and Noodles offers up a surprise, track after track.
Thank you Joi, for giving us original music on this mixtape, as well as covers with well crafted and thought out lyrics. Instead of todays common practice of in your face writing like “I saw, I liked, so I gave him some…”, Joi takes the high road on her take of Coldplay’s “Yellow” where her dude makes the world around him bright.. like yellow. Joi brilliantly uses the seasons to paint her imagery on “October” as she longs for her lost love and tells him “I want you back by October..” Crafty work Joi.
And lastly, Joi, thanks for not being too…. I can’t get in to artist that are too…. To me, not being too is the sure sign that an artist ‘get’s it’. Know what I mean? Like, it’s not too overcooked, too well done. There’s always this delicate balance where we can feel your soul, but your not too soulful. We can feel your spirit, but your not too churchy. You have tracks that are as funky as “Impatient” (which happens to be my favorite on the mixtape, I see you gettin yo Marvin Gaye on, girl), but yet and still is palatable to ‘pop’ ears.
Usually, when I blog about my favorite artist, I usually end it by puting the word out that if anyone happens to see them to let them know that World Famous would really like to work with ’em, but don’t y’all worry ’bout that, I have her number. So I’ll just end it by telling you to make sure you click the link to download my girls project, if you haven’t already done so. That way you can do what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks… gettin me some more Joi in my ears… more… more!!
download Broccoli and Noodles here