Charles Bradley – Victim of Love Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

charles bradley victimWhile comparing Charles Bradley to Otis Redding springs to mind, it may not be entirely fair. For one, both men led very different lives up to the point of their music career taking off. Otis Redding, being so young when finding success was able to lead a (far too short) life filled mostly with happiness. This is evidenced in the fact that his music always had such a serenely kind nature about it. Charles Bradley, on the other hand, had gone through a very tough 60 or so years of turmoil, letdowns and heartbreak before finding his luck in music. His debut album reflected as much. It was full of articulate, thoughtful and much-needed venting. The comparison of the two artists is hard to resist, however, when taking into consideration that both are two of the most genuine and passionate men to ever step up to a microphone. Otis Redding’s performance once defined the phrase “singing your heart out” and, now, Charles Bradley is here to remind us exactly what that means.

Although his debut album was filled with inner turmoil, it was also strewn with beautiful moments. Victim of Love, his sophomore release is something of the opposite. With new found success in his life, Charles Bradley seems to have more time to focus on the things that make him happy. Equipped with a fantastic ability to connect with the listener and bring them in, he provides us with a sense that we are not feeling happy for him, but with him. With a song like “You Put The Flame On It,” it’s almost impossible to feel anything but elated. The wonderfully simple, yet heartfelt lyric “You make my heart feel more than it ever felt before” is easy to connect with. For any of us lucky enough to have experienced anything similar, the anonymity will easily put us in the narrator’s shoes, filled with a warm feeling.

Fortunately, success has clearly not overloaded his ego. He still has his issues with the state of the world, and expresses those insights as poignantly as ever. “Confusion” is loaded with a wariness of politicians and skepticism of their ability to change, and “Hurricane” is a plea for mankind to stop killing the planet.

As with any classic soul album, we have been graced with a beautifully heartbreaking song. “Crying In The Chapel” is exactly the type of song I love the most. The type of song that makes you want to curl into a ball, hug a fifth of bourbon, and cry your eyes out. It’s powerful, heart-wrenching and totally moving. Again, with his power of conviction, it seems entirely plausible that there was no person sadder than he was during this recording. This is the type of song that should come with a warning…it’s that penetrating.

In all, Victim of Love is a classic soul record: a lovely mix of ballads, happy danceable numbers, songs to make you weep, and social commentary – all of the bits that have made soul music such an interesting genre. That being said, possibly the single most important aspect of this record is that Charles Bradley is showing consistency. We have now been blessed with two incredible records from an emerging artist. With such a flawless debut, I had an uneasy feeling coming into this new release, almost expecting disappointment. It’s clear that there is plenty of versatility, vitality and talent within Mr. Bradley. Victim of Love is the best possible thing one could have hoped for from a new favorite artist.

Victim of Love track list:

1. “Strictly Reserved for You”
2. “You Put The Flame on It”
3. “Let Love Stand a Chance”
4. “Victim of Love”
5. “Love Bug Blues”
6. “Dusty Blue”
7. “Confusion”
8. “Where Do We Go From Here”
9. “Crying in the Chapel”
10. “Hurricane”
11. “Through the Storm”

Charles Bradley - Victim of Love, reviewed by Daniel G on 2013-05-06T04:02:48-07:00 rating 4.7 out of 5

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