Friday, May 3, 2024

I Listened to What Now by Brittany Howard

Do you ever, on occasion, suddenly think about a band you haven’t listened to in what feels like ages? That’s my story here.

Early in March, I was cleaning up an old playlist, when I revisited my favorite tracks from Alabama Shake’s Sound & Color (2015). There was the vague expectation of more albums, other music, but the band is on indefinite hiatus since 2018. That, however, has spawned projects from its members like the group Sun On Shade and Brittany Howard’s solo career—beginning with Jamie (2019).

What Now, released on February 9, 2024, is Brittany Howard’s sophomore solo album and is also my reintroduction to her music. It was also the release I was least expecting and the one I was most surprised by; I’ve been missing out, because it’s one of the most creative bodies of work I’ve listened to so far this year. There is an infusion of everything from rock, R&B, soul, funk, synth, house, jazz, and electronic. Howard makes it work, and makes it seem effortless while creating a sonically interesting listening experience that showcases her vocals and creativity.

Some of my favorite tracks include Another Day, the titular What Now, Red Flags, and Power To Undo—which instantly made me think of Prince’s music—among others.

What Now is memorable and an absolute delight, and it’s going to stick with me for a while.

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