Aloe Blacc – Shine Through

Summer Rediscovered

Everyone has an antidote to quell any seasonal affective disorder. This winter, Aloe Blacc’s Shine Through was a great relief. Upon first listen, Shine Through is one continuous, upbeat vibration made for instantaneous seat shimmying. Listeners can’t help but be ready for the summer and travel into memories of youth bicycling towards the music of the ice cream truck or hanging out with friends in the driveway, breakdancing on flattened U-Haul boxes. This is what Shine Through feels like, summer vacation.

Shine Through runs the gamut of music styles from Latin infusion to hip-hop, blues-folk to R&B. The commonality of these tracks are Aloe’s sweet vocals. He could be singing about the Titanic singing or undressing a woman, but his voice continually invokes a tender quality, much like a lullaby. Tracks range from anecdotal to pensive content while still sounding optimistic. Even more, this album causes dancing, whether it’s two-stepping, rocking out, salsa, or a steady head nod.

Aloe’s Latin American heritage shines through on tracks like “Bailar,” “Patria Mia,” Gente Ordinaria,” “Dance For Life, “ and “Severa,” all seemingly derivative of Cumbia in part to the use of dreamy guitars, energetic clapping percussion, and bravado bass. Aloe offsets the debut album with hip-hop tracks that could easily be mixed in on a Friday night at the club. His rapping make a few brief appearances throughout and manages to save listeners from the generic ‘rap’ generally found on every top 40 hip-hop hit.

If it can be said, the essence of Shine Through is found in Aloe Blacc’s first track “Whole World,” referencing all of his musical influences and reminding music lovers across the board that music is pure, true, and free.

By Phillina Batiller Posted in Reviews