Song of the Year#16: One Step Ahead

It seems that for years now I’ve been the only person that ever “prefers” Aretha Franklin’s Columbia Record output to her forever-and-a-day critically lauded output from Atlantic Records….

…then again I’m much more a fan of early 1960s “Uptown Soul” (which by halfway through 1964 Aretha was firmly entrenched in as a style), and prefer her restraint (it shows she had a talent for nuance and phrasing) instead of the constant vocal gymnastics that categorize her Atlantic Years…

I’ll go on record as I might be the only person on earth that can’t sit through the 4 minute + of wailing that is “Ain’t Now Way” while everyone else thinks it’s the most authentic deep soul ballad ever…

I’d rather listen to the pensive, aware and intelligent Aretha circa 1965 muted woodwinds

“One Step Ahead” (1965)

in the “I wrote about this song earlier this year vein” I had to say this about the song a few months back:

Ok, I understand why this song wasn’t a hit, because it’s a bit too dreamy, a bit too existentialist…One Step away from disaster, but being all to aware of it and not knowing what exactly to do (because, ya know, life is life and as life goes we have a hard time figuring out where things and pieces actually fit). So being one step ahead is ok, or doesn’t really matter, because being too far ahead or too far behind can be a bit overwhelming

I love how when not trying to “prove” that her voice is A natural resource of Michigan that Aretha can caress a lyric with tenderness that was lost in the all out assault on the listener that would come later.

Plus… it’s so dreamy…


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