As if to support my seemingly endless narrative about this being a “post-genre” era, along comes Chicago chantress Elle Casazza to musically underline my point with a big red marker pen. Too Bad makes the argument more succinctly than my ramblings could ever do anyway, a reggae grooved, calypso-pop future classic built on sass and sunshine. Soulful horns and elegant and emotive musical motifs add a touch of urban jazz-blues and eventually all genres and geographical locations are given up on and you find yourself in that post-genre and musically cross-pollinated world.
Now, you could say that any single is going to be an example of the best of an artists work, and you might have a case if Elle didn’t have a whole album of similar musical make-overs going under the name of Proof. From the R’n”B groove of opening salvo Hey, to the heartfelt do-wop soul ballad Isn’t It Good, which closes proceedings, Elle and her band get to the very heart of classic musical styles and inject a sugar-coated pop vibe. The genres may shift but the sound is always cohesive and identifiably hers.
But why it works so well where others have failed is that this isn’t a popster stealing wholesale from the past, nor is it a retro-leaning artist trying to put a modern commercial spin on things to make the numbers work. This is an artist sensitive and aware enough to understand the genres that she is working in and then write songs that both glorify the past, appeal to the now and look to the future. Neat huh?