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Wines & Spirits
Rahsaan Patterson
Wines & Spirits
Genre: R&B
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Rahsaan Patterson
Title: Wines & Spirits
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 9/25/2007
Album Type: Import
Genre: R&B
Styles: Contemporary R&B, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

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CD Reviews

'Wines and Spirits': Artistic Effrontery
D. Cohen-Aikas | Little Rock, AR | 06/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The polarizing album. It creates such an emotional response in an artists' fan base that one side usually feels completely abandoned while the other side relishes in what is ubiquitously called "growth." Rahsaan Patterson's 2007 `Wines & Spirits' is absent of the fervor that surrounds Kate Bush's `The Dreaming,' Maxwell's `Embrya,' R.E.M.'s `Monster,' D'Angelo's `Voodoo,' Tori Amos' `Boys for Pele,' Meshell N'degeOcello's `Bitter,' Radiohead's `Kid A,' Prince and The Revolution's 'Parade,' and Erykah Badu's 'New Amerykah Part 1: 4th World War,' to name only a mere few, but I feel that this is Patterson's more quieter polarizing album.

Like all Rahsaan Patterson albums, I purchased `Wines and Spirits' on its release day back in September of 2007. I listened to it relentlessly for about 9 months and finally put it away. Three nights ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I awoke with an intense desire to hear "Pitch Black," and "Water." I always loved these two songs but I felt that I had never really "sat" with these songs before. So, I put "Pitch Black" on and opened the lyric booklet and wow!--it was as if I was really hearing this song for the first time.

"pitch black
panic attacks lookin' over my shoulder
wondering what's goin' on
can't see the light at the end of the tunnel
am I ever gonna see the sun"

Many reviewers who do not like the album describe it in the following ways: "depressing," "not happy," "drug obsessed," and "dark." My question is: why must we privilege "happiness?" It seems like there is an almost obsessive preoccupation with being happy--a cultural imperative to appear or be "happy." "Pitch Black," lyrically, is one of Patterson's strongest songs he's ever written. His question: "am I ever gonna see the sun" is an articulation of despair. Despair is a feeling just like joy. Why must there be a hierarchy of the two? The same goes for "Water."

"lifesaver please
is anyone there to sense my need
shores i conceive are farther away than i believe

this shiver's got me bold
and i don't want it to let go
because i fear...i fear
that if i drown no one will care"

Gorgeous and heart-wrenching lyrics. Yes, there is a contemplation of suicide in the song. Many great artists explore this theme in their work. Patterson does it masterfully on this song. Again, some of his best writing ever.

However, for those who were unwilling to fully go into this particular terrain with him, he offers songs that are reminiscent of his great self-titled debut: "Feels Good," and "Stop Breaking My Heart."

"No Danger" is the first song on the album that I truly fell in love with. A very infectious groove. The juxtaposition of "love" and "danger" can tell us a lot about what Patterson is up to, overall, on this album.

"Cloud 9" sees Patterson exploring themes of the sexual in a more explicit way, rather than the more muted gestures we see on songs like "So Hot" and "Burnin'," from the fantastic album `After Hours.' This song is also a brilliant descriptor of what bliss (happiness) looks like to him.

"Deliver Me," "Oh Lord (Take Me Back)," "Higher Love," and "Stars" work very well in their order. This is definitely the "spirits" section of the album. Great songs!

The only song that I do not really like is "Time." Though I adore the way that Patterson stacks the harmonies in the choruses--very good stuff.

This is the first Rahsaan Patterson album where I felt that I could not simply come in. Unlike the inviting nature of `Love in Stereo,' I felt like I had to really think about what he is doing on "Wines and Spirits" before I could fully walk into what Patterson wanted me to experience. For instance, beginning the album with "Cloud 9" and ending with "Stars" (the latter I see working as a double entendre in this respect). And given this, what do we make of the middle of the album's emotional ebbs and flows?

For those who are new to Rahsaan's music, I encourage you to begin with the very first album. For those who simply do not like the album, I certainly respect your opinion. However, for those who are still on the fence about the album, I hope that you will sit with it and the lyrics again--really hear what he is saying.

For me, this album is intelligent, ambiguous, paradoxical, and heart-warming--presented in a way that a true artist would. "Water" is now my favorite Rahsaan Patterson song. And I hope that he continues to push his songwriting in such a way that the dividing line between what is read as "happy" or "sad" become even more blurred--epitomized by the trumpet combined with the lyrics "change your mind/change your mind" on "Water."

His voice sounds amazing. His writing is lyrical, courageous, and outright brilliant. May his tentatively entitled next effort, `Bleuphoria,' be even more polarizing.