Bite-sized Album Review #21: Erykah Badu’s ‘Mama’s Gun’ & Wings’s ‘Band on the Run’

Currently writing this by candlelight (edit: it’s now 5 hours later and the power is obviously back on lol); Hurricane Zeta is making its way through the South, so Georgia is getting the residual wind and rain from the storm. As soon as I woke up, the power blanked out. I figured since I couldn’t do anything else, writing felt like the place to be in this moment lol. A little bit different Bite Sized Album Review this week: two (very different) projects, different format. 

Mama’s Gun (2000)

My Vinyl Me Please record of the month was supposed to be People Under the Stairs’s O.S.T. (2003), but after hearing so much about Mama’s Gun (I know, I’m absolutely trash for not having heard it by this point in my life), I decided to swap O.S.T. for Badu’s record, with the hopes that I would like it a little bit more than I was liking O.S.T. so far. I was also slightly more sold on Mama’s Gun because Tyler the Creator tweeted about it, and I trust his musical taste above all others (except mine lol). And y’all. Oh my god lol.

Mama’s Gun is BRILLIANT! From the very first song I was hooked!!! I was making Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (that turned out great, btw. I used this recipe — swapped the walnuts for pecans ’cause like…who eats walnuts for fun???) while listening to it, and I essentially had to stop every 5 minutes to find out what song was playing, so I could save it to my Spotify library. There are so many amazing moments on this project, and Miss Badu sounds so so GOOD. I didn’t realize “Bag Lady” and “Didn’t Cha Know” were on here, so those were nice surprises when they came on. I LOVVVVVEEEEEDDDD “Times A Wastin’” — everything about that song is magnificent. The bridge is sooooo *chef’s kiss* like……WOWOWOW!!!! I love me some Roy Ayers, so the two of them gave me absolute LIFE on “Cleva,” and Erykah and Stephen Marley gave me chills on “In Love With You.” Their back and forth on that track is so beautiful. Really a perfect project. I just……..Black women are so powerful ❤ 

Overall Album Rating

Thematic Cohesion: 4, Sonic Cohesion: 5, Vibe Check: 5, Replay Value: 4

Band on the Run (1973)

I’ve been a little bit more active on Twitter the past couple of days, as if I needed another app to waste my time on. I follow Spree Wilson — I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Spree on here before (can’t check rn cause the power’s out lol – edit: I have a couple of times!), but he is SUCH an amazing musician. Super talented on the guitar. Amazing voice. Listen to “Counterfeit,” and your life will change — and I saw him mention a couple of times how much of a fan he is of Paul McCartney. I have a bunch of Beatles songs that I like a lot, but I’ve never really ventured into McCartney’s solo stuff. So I asked Spree where to start and he recommended Band on the Run, saying that it has a little bit of that Beatles feel to it, so it’s a good transition project.

And I really enjoyed it! It’s super short, but McCartney & Wings pack a LOT in there. It’s fun, bouncy, there are some bossa nova-esque cuts on there, some jazzy moments, as well as some of those classic 70s rock moments that you’d expect from someone like McCartney. “Bluebird” is my favorite from there. Such a beautiful song; the bridge is GREAT, and there’s a sax solo on that that blows my mind. “Jet” was another one I really liked; super fun, and I love a shouty/chanty chorus. It made me feel like I was in a movie montage where I was learning how to fly lol. “Mamunia” was also a really pretty moment. The part that really got me was the ending of the last track, “Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five.” There’s this BIG, crescendoing build-up that softens into the chorus from the first song. I…you just have to listen to it lol; explaining it doesn’t do it justice. Just know it’s WILD. So shout out to Spree Wilson for introducing me to this project. Definitely need to check out some more of McCartney’s post-Beatles work. 

Overall Album Rating

(Thematic Cohesion: 3, Sonic Cohesion: 5, Vibe Check: 4, Replay Value: 2)

Featured Image Credit: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/best-erykah-badu-songs/


(listen to Mama’s Gun and Band on the Run on Spotify, by clicking on the images below)

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