Music Editor Letty Gardner discusses why Patti Smith's 1975 debut 'Horses' is an incredible listen and an essential albumWritten by Letty Gardner on 14th August 2018
Single Review: Chaka Khan – Like Sugar
The latest single from 80s legend Chaka Khan is a minimally funky and impressively triumphant return to form, Music Writer David Evans argues
It’s been over a decade since Chaka Khan’s last solo release and, for the most part, her name is one that’s synonymous with the past. Classics such as ‘Ain’t Nobody’, ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘I Feel For You’, iconic in their own right, are mega hits that have come to define Khan as ‘The Queen of Funk’ and are rightfully staple pieces of the 80s decade.
“Switch’s incredibly inventive production work on this record keeps listeners on their toes as each second brings something beautifully fresh
So, after such a dry spell, it’s come as a bit of shock and potentially a worry when Khan announces a new single seemingly out of nowhere. As consistently demonstrated, veteran artists don’t always get things right when trying to bring their music into the present, Sting and Shaggy’s 2018 collaboration 44/876 being a hilarious example of this. Khan, however, has dropped an absolute bomb and undisputedly hit the metaphorical nail on the head.
Produced by Switch of Major Lazer fame, ‘Like Sugar’ is a deceptively simple track, essentially only consisting of two parts- verse and chorus. The whole song is constructed around a single baseline (sampled from Fatback’s 1975 hit ‘Do The Bus Stop’) and each verse is just a lyrical repeat of the last. To be honest, that doesn’t sound like the blueprint for a hit, but Switch’s incredibly inventive production work on this record keeps listeners on their toes as each second brings something beautifully fresh. Every single element, from the baseline to the beat, has been given incredible attention. Whilst the track is in keeping with the straightforward funk sound it’s inspired by, the details have been fine tuned with a multitude of alterations such as pauses, drum fills and sequences to catch the listener out in a way that’s conducive to grinning.
“'Like Sugar' is a real testament to Chaka’s pedigree as a vocalist and makes for a popping summer tune
Read it aloud, listen to the song and hear the difference. Chaka is quite simply a god among mortals in this regard. Not just a masterclass in production, 'Like Sugar' is a real testament to Chaka’s pedigree as a vocalist and makes for a popping summer tune. Recently, artists such as The Avalanches have shown the commercial success of funk and disco-era sampling brought into a modern framework. Nostalgia is in, disco-funk is booming in dance circles and Chaka looks set to propel herself back into mainstream tastes. If ‘Like Sugar’ is anything to go by, the LP set to follow could be huge. Absolutely Red Hot.
'Like Sugar' by Chaka Khan is available now via Diary Records.