Goapele, “Play”

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More than just another beautiful woman on the R&B scene — though she’s every bit of that — Goapele‘s new single, “Play,” brews a mix of 70’s pop, 80’s rock and 90’s R&B into a decidedly sexy musical cocktail.

℗ 2011

Busting onto the music scene more than ten years ago, Goapele shrugged off the “neo-soul” genre like an old coat, creating a debut album (2001’s Closer) that was a critically-acclaimed mix of jazz poetry and hip-hop soul.

A pair of albums released on her own Skyblaze label during the middle of the 00’s inspired Rolling Stone to call Goapele “the spiritual love child of Sade and D’Angelo” but gave the singer pause to contemplate what should come next. That meditation took a half-dozen years, leaving fans to wait until now for her new album, Break of Dawn.

Heading into Oakland’s Zoo Studios, she wanted Break of Dawn to be “more uninhibited,” she says. “I came into this business as a young woman who wanted to be taken seriously for my music,” she adds. “Now I’m more willing to share my sexiness as well. I realize that it’s possible to be both complex and provocative.”

There’s no shortge of sexy in Break of Dawn‘s lead single, “Play,” which Goapele created in studio with producers Dan Electric and Thunderbolts Electric and Teddy. “They started a little vibe with the synths and drums. I just liked it so much I was ready to get into the recording booth.”

The result is a song for music lovers, not just R&B lovers: “Play” has groove of David Essex‘s ultra-cool pop hit, “Rock On,” a seductive arrangement that reminds us of Kate Bush‘s best records of the early 80’s and a sexy blush that imagines what Sade would sound like if she were produced by Prince.

Download “Play” here. Click the link above to get the rest of the record.