Soul

Lost & Found (CD)

Lost & Found is the debut album by silky-voiced UK singer Jorja Smith, previously heard on the Black Panther soundtrack and on Stormzy and Drake collaborations. The album features well-produced R&B/soul tracks with distinctive lyrics and traces of trip-hop in their skittering beats. “February 3rd” has a pretty melody with a slinky groove, while “Blue Lights” addresses racial profiling by the police with a lilting vocal and an affecting chorus. “Where Did I Go” is another highlight, laidback but danceable with a sleepy melody.

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Soul Side Of Town (CD)

Perennial Oakland horn section/funk collective Tower of Power celebrates their 50th anniversary the only way they know how: with an epic, all night long rhythm & soul blowout. In production since 2012, the songs that comprise Soul Side of Town were pulled from four separate sessions in order to “make the best record of (their) career.” Whether or not it hits that lofty goal is up for debate, but rest assured that Soul Side is a worthy entry in ToP’s storied career and epitomizes the energetic, upbeat funk that they do best.

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Worth It All (CD)

Classic R&B vocalist and L.T.D. frontman, Jeffrey Osborne follows up his 2013 album of standards with a rich, new record, Worth It All. His first self-produced album in 13 years, Worth It All celebrates the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, with funky tracks like “Let A Brotha Know” and “Just Can't Stand It,” as well as lavish, sincere ballads such as “Saving My Love” and the title track; the latter is a lovely spare number with electric piano and vocals, the lyrics summing up the message behind the album. The sultry “Work It” was co-written with his son Jeffrey Osborne, Jr. who also raps on the track.

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TLC (CD)

The ‘90s might not seem so far away, but the ladies of TLC are definitely R&B icons in their own right. That’s why the tracks on their latest LP are so interesting; with only one guest appearance (from the mighty Snoop) and melodies that draw heavily from classic funk and soul, the focus here is squarely on the women, their legacy, and how they defined R&B. (There’s even a well-placed Earth, Wind & Fire sample on standout track “It’s Sunny,” just in case you need a reminder of how their work fits in with some of the biggest names in urban music.) Other memorable tracks include “Way Back;” nostalgic, infectious, and just straight up fun, it’s the perfect summer song while “Haters” is cool, confident, and laidback. Their new album is T-Boz and Chilli’s final release as a group, but TLC will leave you wanting more.

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