So Damn Happy Aretha Franklin

Album info

Album-Release:
2003

HRA-Release:
28.01.2015

Label: Arista / Sony Music

Genre: R&B

Subgenre: Soul

Album including Album cover

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  • 1The Only Thing Missin'03:07
  • 2Wonderful04:40
  • 3Holdin' On04:36
  • 4No Matter What04:32
  • 5Everybody's Somebody's Fool04:35
  • 6So Damn Happy04:28
  • 7You Are My Joy02:33
  • 8Falling Out Of Love04:30
  • 9Ain't No Way04:36
  • 10Good News04:53
  • 11You Are My Joy (Reprise)02:33
  • Total Runtime45:03

Info for So Damn Happy

„So Damn Happy“ was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. "Wonderful" won for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Aretha Franklin released only two new albums in the 1990s, but 2003 saw a flurry of activity, with Franklin putting out both the gospel album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and this secular R&B album.

Her voice sounds as vibrant as ever, and most of the songs have a joyful feel that's no doubt influenced by the depth of Franklin's faith. The soft-grooving "Wonderful" and the slow-burning soul of the title track bespeak an inner jubilance, but this album isn't emotionally monochromatic. She gracefully plumbs the depths of disillusionment on the Burt Bacharach-produced/penned slow-jam "Falling Out of Love" and the remonstrative "Ain't No Way," where she even references her legendary hit "Respect."

Still, it's no accident that things close on a decidedly spiritual note with the celebratory "Good News" and a reprisal of "You Are my Joy," a wedding song that--like Aretha herself--seems to have a direct link to the divine.

„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, BBC Review)

Produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Barry Eastmond, Gordon Chambers


Aretha Franklin
She is known the world over by her first name and as the undisputed, reigning 'Queen Of Soul,' Aretha Franklin is peerless. This 2005 recipient of a Presidential Medal Of Freedom honor (the U.S.A.'s highest honor), 17 Grammy Awards (and counting), a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy Living Legend Award. She has received countless international and national awards and accolades. Aretha has achieved global recognition on an unprecedented scale. She has influenced generations of singers from Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole and Mary J. Blige to 'American Idol' winner Fantasia Burrino and Oscar- winning Jennifer Hudson. Her ever-distinctive soulful, to-the-bone vocal style has graced the music charts for over four decades and while her 'live' performances have touched the hearts of literally millions since she began her musical journey as a gospel-singing child prodigy, it is her rich legacy of recordings that are a testament to the power, majesty and genius of this one-of-a-kind artist of the first order.

Beyond the timeless classic hits such as 'Respect,' 'A Natural Woman,' 'Chain Of Fools,' 'Think,' 'Daydreaming' and 'Freeway Of Love' among the dozens of chart-topping records that have established her as a cultural icon, Aretha Franklin's catalog of over forty albums informs listeners of her unmatched, unparalleled artistry as an interpreter of song, bar none. Her elevation to 'royal' status is indeed not just a function of her hitmaking ability but of her unique inventiveness as a musician who fuses art and soul seamlessly. Indeed, it's often been said that Aretha could take 'happy birthday' and turn it into a veritable opus and while those who know her will testify to her culinary skills in the kitchen, it is her mastery as a musical chef that is evident on each and every one of those forty-plus albums, many of which have achieved gold and platinum status.

As is widely known, Aretha, born in Memphis, (reared in Buffalo but a longtime resident of Detroit,) began her personal musical journey singing at her much-revered father Reverend C.L. Franklin's New Bethel Baptist Church at a very young age. While she was unquestionably influenced by the presence of such gospel luminaries as Clara Ward (a strong influence), Mahalia Jackson and the Reverend James Cleveland in the Franklin household, it was secular performers such as Dinah Washington and Sam Cooke (also visitors to the Franklin residence) who helped shape Aretha's wide-ranging interest in popular music. Young Aretha also heard the doo-wop sounds of Nolan Strong and The Diablos, The Moonglows, The 5 Royales and The Satins as well as popular '50s hitmakers such as Johnny Ace, Little Willie John, Jackie Wilson, Big Maybelle and Little Esther on the radio.

Aretha's interest in a wide range of popular music became evident when she began her own recording career at Columbia Records, although it should be noted that her powerful, emotive style was first heard on a gospel recording made in 1956 with her father and released by Chess Records in the mid-'60s. With the support of her father, Aretha traveled to New York City in 1960 and after a demo which contained her version of a Helen Humes tune titled 'Today I Sing The Blues' made its way to the ears of executive John Hammond (responsible for signing such artists as Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Bob Dylan), Aretha was signed to Columbia in 1960. For more information please visit the Aretha Franklin homepage.

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