Mojo (Publisher) - p.1064 stars out of 5
-- "Most striking of all is a bewitching cover of 'Femme Fatale,' recasting the Velvets' dark ballad as a slow-burning deep soul torch song par excellence."
Pitchfork (Website) - "GOOD THINGS is well-constructed and boasts some inspired touches..."
Personnel: Aloe Blacc (vocals); Leon Michels (guitar, saxophone, keyboards); Nick Movshon (guitar, drums); Tommy Brenneck, Luke Riverside (guitar); Garrett Devoe (acoustic guitar); Entcho Todorov (violin); Garo Yellin (cello); Michael Leonhart (trumpet); Aaron Johnson (trombone); Toby Pazner (piano, vibraphone); Jeff Dynamite, Homer Steinweiss (drums).
Audio Mixers: Clay Holley; Jeff Dynamite.
Recording information: Soul Fire Studios, Brooklyn, NY.
Photographer: Dan Monick.
All the promise of his debut comes true on Aloe Blacc's sophomore release, Good Things, a vintage sound meets modern problems release with a way too modest title. Right from the opening "I Need a Dollar" -- which could be passed off as unreleased Bill Withers, no problem -- the album offers grand things, providing listeners with that solid, but not polarizing, style of social commentary Withers perfected. On the following cut, positivity is pushed ("Something special happened today/I got green lights all the way") in a manner that's far from sugary, but this singer who offers such warmth and humility on his smooth soul tracks is well aware of sin, and can get slinky in a Al Green style when warning against loose women on "Hey Brother." An even better example of this is his cover of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale," which becomes much more than a clever choice, thanks to a convincing performance that suggests he's been there. The organic production, real horns and all, is left up entirely to the Truth & Soul Productions crew (Jeff Dynamite and Leon Michels) but Blacc's delivery is less traditional with phrasing and some slang left over from when he was a 24-7 rapper. Anyone with a taste for neo-soul should try Good Things unique flavor. It comes on familiar and comfortable and becomes more rich and rewarding with every return visit. ~ David Jeffries