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So Damn Happy

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Amazon's Aretha Franklin Store


Image of album by Aretha Franklin


Image of Aretha Franklin


“There are singers,” said Ray Charles, “then there is Aretha. She towers above the rest. Others are good, but Aretha is great. She’s my only sure-enough sister.”

Since the moment Aretha stepped to the pulpit at her father’s famed New Bethel Baptist Church as a young girl singing in the great gospel tradition, the world has recognized her as a musical ... Read more in Amazon's Aretha Franklin Store

Visit Amazon's Aretha Franklin Store
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So Damn Happy + A Rose Is Still A Rose
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Sept. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music
  • ASIN: B0000C082O
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Sponge
2. The Only Thing Missin'
3. Wonderful
4. Holdin' On
5. No Matter What
6. Everybody's Somebody's Fool
7. So Damn Happy
8. You Are My Joy
9. Falling Out Of Love
10. Ain't No Way
11. Good News
12. You Are My Joy (Reprise)

Product Description

Product Description

braniascolta 30''1.the only thing missin'ascolta2.wonderfulascolta3.holdin' onascolta4.no matter whatascolta5.everybody's somebody's foolascolta6.so damn happyascoltaascolta 30''7.you are my joyascolta8.falling out of loveascolta9.ain't no wayascolta10.good newsascolta11.you are my joy (r

BBC Review

There's very little this reviewer can say about the undisputed "Queen of Soul", that a thousand haven't already. In a career spanning four decades and some fifty plus albums, Aretha is the epitome of soul, whilst never straying too far from her gospel roots.

In recent times her recording output has slowed considerably, although thankfully the quality has never waned. This, her first studio album in five years since A Rose Is Still A Rose, (and her twelfth for Arista) she again reaffirms why today's pretenders to her crown can only look up and marvel at her boundless talent.

Mary J. Blige handles vocal arrangements and back-up on two songs she co-wrote - the optimistic two-stepper "Holdin' On" and the beat ballad "No Matter What". On the latter Franklin wrings more soul out of one she-be-do than all the aspirants put together. Production, similarly, has a classic contemporary-feel with credits falling to hit men Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Barry J. Eastmond (whose credits include Anita Baker, Freddie Jackson), Troy Taylor (Whitney Houston), Ron Lawrence (Faith Evans) and the legendary Burt Bacharach; Aretha herself producing three tracks.

The album's first single, "The Only Thing Missin'", oozes of '70s charm, street savvy and feel-good vibe, and is very much a personal statement reflecting her own stance on matters of the heart: "I'm just telling it like it is and keeping it real," Aretha states.

The Jam & Lewis cut, "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", a feisty tale of love gone bad, similarly smacks of classic Franklin and has a certain Bobby Womack charm to it - unassuming yet naggingly catchy and oozing of familiarity. "So Damn Happy" sounds as if it draws from Natalie Cole's "This Will Be" as subtle acoustic strumming and splashes of blues-spiced horns surround her intimate vocal. In fact, the balance between the contemporary and the classic is what makes So Damn Happy such an accessible release - perfectly highlighted on the heartfelt "Ain't No Way". When she sings: "I need a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T when you find out what it means to me", you can't help but smile at the reference.

Aretha's voice is a beautiful instrument that she never stops strengthening and developing and in So Damn Happy her legion of fans have a slick and superior album of depth, vision and soul that's truly one to savour. --Jack Smith

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Spanswick VINE VOICE on 13 Jun. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Wow this is just the best of the best. No other soul singer on the planet comes anywhere close to this. Listening to this amazing swirling, swooping and just plain belting it out voice of Areths's makes me realise how much I have missed it lately. This current collection uses every string in her amazing bow. There are those intimate songs like "Falling out of Love" ~ my personal favourite track penned by Burt Bacharach and the smart cool of "No Matter What" that features the famous "crack" in her voice. There are too many people waiting for her to fall but that aint going to happen. Dont even think about it go and buy it and settle back to the experience of what soul singing is all about. Brilliant tight arrangements, excellent vocals and check out some of the lyrics. I had almost forgotten about the words...!!!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J R BROWN on 18 Sept. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Aretha Franklin will always be recording under the looming presence of her 'Queen of Soul' label. She falls into one of those categories of peaking too soon and having a fantastic talent that either lost its way or was just negelcted by record producers/companies. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna (for a while) also fall into this category. So, it takes a lot of effort to listen to an album by these artists without your ears bending back to their earlier work and you thinking 'this just isn't as good as the old stuff'. So, you have to try and forget that Aretha recorded some of the best three minutes of vocals in music history: 'Respect', 'Think', 'Rock Steady', 'Natural Woman', Young, Gifted and Black' etc... 'So Damn Happy', although nowhere near as good as it could have been, is an album that isn't bad and isn't fantastic either. The promo' single 'Only Thing Missin' is the best of the bunch, definitely one of her best songs in a long time: 9/10. Next song 'Wonderful' is almost as good but has that little something missing: 7/10. The next two songs are written and co-produced by Mary J Blige who also provides back up. These two tracks are classic Mary J Blige but Aretha carries them off with enough conviction for them to both get a respectable 8/10. The next track, 'Everybody's Somebody's Fool' is fine, 7/10, which leads us into Aretha's own compositions on the album: 'So Damn happy' and 'You Are My Joy' which, whilst being great songs suffer from Aretha's over-singing which results in them sounding a bit messy. But that aside - you have the lyrics to help you out - they are really good tracks: strings, big vocals from back up... both get 7/10. Then we get to one of the best tracks: 'Falling Out Of Love' which sees Aretha reunited with Burt Bacharach: 9/10.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bridgeman Swansea on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Aretha does her usual great job on vocals with a little help from a galaxy of friends. There is no stand out track for me, just fabulous songs as usual
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean Hardy on 13 Nov. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Aretha,this is a good album.Please don't wait so long before you do another.Get some more singles out & another hot gospel album quick. The lord has blessed you greatly & the best is yet to come! I would love to meet you face to face one of these days. Continue to reach for the best & do more albums soon. I would love for you to have Troy Taylor & Stevie Wonder write for you again. I can see you doing something great with Chicago Mass Choir & Detroit Mass Choir. Stay Happy & Keep your head up. God is Good & hope to see @ the 2004 Grammy Awards. Go Aretha Go!!!!!!!!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 74 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Pass the torch? NEVER ! 28 Sept. 2003
By Roy Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm not sure what Anthony Nelson was thinking when he suggested that our beloved Queen should "pass the torch". All it takes is two or three notes of the first song, "The Only Thing That's Missin' Is You", and you know that this is the real deal from the one and only Queen Of Soul. I love alot of other female artists such as Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight and Etta James. However, the feeling that you get from Ree can only come from her! When she starts playing piano on "So Damn Happy" it takes me to a place where no one else can take me. She is a true living legend and there is absolutely NO ONE that would ever be worthy of taking the torch from her!
I know that a duet album had been in the rumour mill for along time. I don't know if it is still in the works, but I'd like to suggest a long-awaited duet with Aretha and Mitch Ryder! Both Detroit natives, both rock/soul belters - how could it miss???
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Queen is back 16 Sept. 2003
By Peace Brotha - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a good set of tunes from the Queen, without one dud in the bunch.

I like the old-school tunes that Aretha penned the best, especially You Are My Joy, which borrows from Richard Smallwood's spiritual composition of a similar title. I love that classic retro sound, especially with Ree on the keys. Aretha's other original cut, the title track, reminds me of a combo of her own 1968 take of You Send Me and Natalie Cole's This Will Be.

The Burt Bacharach number, Falling Out Of Love, is amazing. With Aretha's more mellow sound of today an entire album's worth of new Bacharach material would truly be classic, especially since her skills would prevent the Schmaltz Syndrome that affects so much of Burt's music of the past 15 years or so.

Holdin' On is my favorite nu-school track, even though it's got a strong old-school Curtis Mayfield vibe to it. Great vibe, cool and knowing street attitude from the Queen, and one of the best vocals on the album are all featured here. Aretha's art involves way more than "screaming." This song proves that her subdued vocals in many ways arguably put her in a class of one even more than some of the intense performances do.

Every single song on the album is lyrically and melodically strong, something I couldn't say about the "Rose" album. The songs would be good no matter WHO recorded them, they really would. But having the Queen interpret each of these cuts is buttercream frosting on the cake. And Aretha sounds like she had a good time in the studio with these numbers, all of which are tightly produced.

The "only thing missin" for me is at least ONE song where Aretha goes all out vocally. I was thinking she just might do this. From what I've personally seen and heard she still can when she wants to. I would have been happy with at least ONE well-timed holla or squall, apart from the thrilling soar that opens the album. But Ms. Franklin is in decent to good 2003 voice throughout here on all songs. Everybody's Somebody's Fool includes one of the best vocal runs I've heard from Ree in a while at the end of the bridge. The title track is a gently swinging number that allows Aretha to show off her incredible timing in various subtle ways, and that wonderful You Are My Joy is quite possibly Aretha's most impassioned studio vocal since 1991's What Did You Give.

We have 11 brand new, QUALITY songs by the Queen, and they all carry a positive message of some sort. This is enough "good news" for me to give this album a solid 4 stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Transcending 5 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Having read some of the previous reviews of this album I am reminded of a poem by Tennyson in which he wrrote, " tho much is taken, much abides, and tho' we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are we are..." I was 11 when I met Aretha on the radio transcending a little red plastic box, I am now 51 and she is transcending an MP3 player as I work out on a Sunday morning fighting back the encroaching grey... " tho much is taken, much abides..." Falsetto or not this is still Aretha in all her glory squeezing out feeling from the most banal lyrics, still transcending.
And she's happy... Listen to her mischievous cackle at the end of "So Damn Happy" - that alone is reason enough for celebration."Catfish and grits!"
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ashanti who? 22 Sept. 2003
By Michael James Leslie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In a music world filled with mediocrity and video driven stars it is refreshing to have another album from the Queen. Aretha has always sung the soul of a people without making herself the victim in a song. True her voice is not what it once was, but at 61 Aretha can get more emotion out of a turned phrase and one squalled note than any of the so-called divas and pretenders to her throne. When you are this good the drawback becomes that the material is not always up to your peformance, and I believe that is the case here. Her last album "A Rose is Still A Rose" was a better album in terms of songs. However, with the songs "Good News," "The Only Thing Missing," "Ain't No Way" (don't worry this is not a re-make but a new song), and the Mary J. Blige written "Holdin On," the Queen proves that being comtemporary and having artistry are not mutually exclusive.
It is rumored that Aretha is retiring from touring. Let us hope that she never retires from the studio and leave us to the mediocrity jackals.
I am awaiting the album that Aretha afficionadas have long salivated for: a duet album with her male equivalent Ray Charles.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
So Damn Unhappy! 1 May 2005
By G. Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm a fan of Ree's music and I pay my due respect to the Queen of Soul but she misses it on this album.

She recorded too many tracks in her falsetto tone which becomes annoying after the fifth or so track. She also has a vocal sound that makes me think that she had her dentures in while she recorded this album.

The album overall pulls Ree in too many directions - from the hip hop flavoured tracks Holding On and No Matter What (featuring Mary J. Blige on background vocals) to Good News (a gospel track) to the title track and You Are My Joy (which Ree wrote and produced herself), there are too many genres on one album. And why did she include a reprise of You Are My Joy? It was unnecessary.

Overall, the album did not inspire me and after listening to it a few times, it left me empty. I hope Ree will make up for it in her next release. And Ree, please tone it down on the falsetto vocals.
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