I would like to introduce you to Res – one of my all-time favorite finds when I was 20-something. Res first hit it big with her 2001 debut album “How I Do” – I mean, walking into Best Buy (remember, this was pre-ITunes) and seeing giant posters of her album cover hanging from the ceiling of the store…..THAT kind of big. I immediately fell in love with her voice, her music, her spunk. The title song became my inner-theme song – actually, it still is. While I was busy getting my friends into her (Yes, I’ve been a long-time one-person PR machine) with songs like Golden Boys and They Say Vision, I kept my eyes open for her next album…..which, for a reason I’m about to talk about, never appeared.
See, Res – like Me’Shell NdgeOcello, Macy Gray, Alice Smith and even Laura Izibor – doesn’t fit into a neat category, and we all know the music industry here in the U.S. HATES being challenged to think. When the big wigs can’t throw you – especially if you’re a woman – into a neat box to promote you to the “masses” you get thrown off to the side. See, all the women I just listed there (right off the top of my head), have a rough, rock edge to them, and they aren’t shy about trying to expand their catalog by trying something different. Res is beyond talented – she’s covered Donna Summer (a bold, daring move that worked) and Marvin Gaye, and she does it well.
About 4 years ago, Res basically said F-it and released “Black.Girls.Rock” via her website, for free. Here’s a link to a post about it on the OkayPlayer website. If I thought I love How I Do – Black.Girls.Rock blew my mind. With songs like “On My Way” or “For Who You Are” and “Leave Here Tomorrow” you can’t help but appreciate listening to a female who just throws it all out there and walks away – with swagger. I still listen to the whole album on a regular.
Then, it happened – after releasing “Party Robot” with her, Talib Kweli roped Res into doing a collaborative album under the name of Idle Warship. Good God, amazing. Which means, the music industry didn’t know what the heck to do with it. One my favorite songs off the album is “Beautifully Bad” – just haunting. Of course, the whole album isn’t all slow songs that make you want to break out the dull knives in your kitchen. It’s got some really cool punk-ish tracks on there. I usually have it on when I’m at the gym. This collab then lead to a documentary, aptly named The Res Documentary, about her trials at being a successful artist.
I say all that to let you know that Res just did a quick release for her new EP – Refried Mac – on ITunes. My friends know that, even though I use an IPod for my music I refuse to buy anything on ITunes (Amazon is cheaper, and Apple doesn’t need all the money in the world). However, I woke up the morning of the release and downloaded it without hesitation. THAT, my friends is how much I love me some Res.
And, was I surprised at what I was listening to on my way into work. Res took 5 popular Fleetwood Mac songs – Rhiannon, Dreams, The Chain, Little Lies and Edge of Seventeen. What impresses me the most about this release is that each song is pure Fleetwood Mac….yet, had that Res edge. The heavy drums on Rhiannon or the halting guitar riffs sneaking into the chorus of Edge of Seventeen is just so on-point and beautiful, actually, it’s amazing. I’ll admit it, I’m a 80s kid so I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac. Hearing these songs, in a way re-purposed for a new generation of music lovers is so refreshing. And what kills me is that it’s never been done before. It’s like the idea is so obvious that most of the music industry just looked right over it – pretty much how I always lose my phone and it’s right on the coffee table.
So – go ahead and pre-order the next release of Refried Mac by Res. Support an indie artist who has busted her behind and grown into a beautiful force to reckoned with. OH yeah, and follow her on Twitter — @the1res – she’s fun.