- Audio Cassette (11 Jun 2002)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Umvd Labels
- ASIN: B000066EZD
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Doing What I Can sets the bar high. Opening with a Philly soul string crescendo, a news reporter offers a précis of Saadiq’s life. Talking about the tragedy that befell his family (the loss of three brothers and a sister), immediately it dispenses with any personal baggage. Instant Vintage is all about Saadiq’s roots, emphasised by the use of his birth name (Charles Ray Wiggins) in a couple of tracks: Still Ray, which uses the piano sample of Still D.R.E. by Dr Dre and the blues guitar-led childlike domestic documentary Charlie Ray. Be Here, a duet with D’Angelo, is a standout, featuring the duo’s arresting, intricate vocal blend. Each tries to out-smooth the other, without resorting to cliché.
There is also time for some good old-fashioned protest – People is dark and political, a call for the truth swiping at both George Bush and hypocrisies within the music industry. It works because of Saadiq’s sincerity. Even the interludes add to the overall power of the album. OPH is an acoustic, woozy two-minute doodle sung by Shyronda Felder and Traci Nelson, a homage to weed that refuses to succumb to the gauche pitfalls of drug songs.
Driven by his bass guitar, and unafraid to experiment musically (not many RnB albums featured tuba and recorders in 2002), Vibe magazine said that if Instant Vintage were an outfit it would be a "bell-bottom patchwork catsuit of silk, suede, cashmere and macramé with funky armpit stains". It garnered Grammy nominations and a place in the US top 30. By its very nature, Instant Vintage was too clever and sophisticated to be an enormous hit, remaining permanently underground. Saadiq does it his way, and does it well.
Instant Vintage feels like it did in 2002: at once familiar, at once new.
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