Deep Purple could arguably be the first B. Slade™ release that ceases to address the past controversies brought on by others between his Christian faith and his sexual orientation. As a collective musical statement, this project feels like B. Slade™ has fully embraced his role as pop music phenomenon that makes music for everyone and he isn’t looking back. Of course Deep Purple delivers adult R&B/soul that current fans have come to expect, complete with thick stacks of vocal acrobatics and various pop radio infusions.
The CD begins with the tracks,”Mama Jaila’s Intro” and “Phony Pony”. More like a bow of the knee than a tip of the hat to queer urban ball culture (think the film, “Paris Is Burning”, for reference), these tracks represent a ball battle in song and an ode to the often threaded-in and thrashed around ponytail worn by some dancers. Featuring the talents of Jaila Simms as the “Den Mother”, vocalist Trayvon James for the “House of Decadence”, & Baltimore hip-hop artist, DDm for the “House of Opulence”. You may also recognize Jaila Simms as the winning transgender contestant of MTV/Diddy’s reality show, “Making His Band”.
The dance party continues with songs like “Twerk”, “Deep Purple”, & “Sonshine 2” recall 1990’s productions by Jam & Lewis as well as Prince and Teddy Riley with specific sound references to Janet and long time B. Slade™ fans are fully aware of his appreciation for Janet’s work.
Tracks like, “I wish, I wish, I wish”, “Serial Monagamist”, and “Never Love This Way” follow the Europop/dance blend by many of today’s high chart rollers like Usher and producer Will.I.Am. “I Wish” is a track that grows on you, even if you’re initially put off by its lyrical simplicity. “Serial” speaks to the desire to have one partner for mental and physical health (“it will never be a 911 / if you’re sleeping with “one, one, one.”). Definitely a different line than what most pop music male vocalists are bringing today.
B. Slade™’s “comfort zone” tracks on this disc are the deep house track “2 Get 2”, the pop/R&B Debarge-inspired, “Vibrations”, and “Could it be you?”. That is not to say that he doesn’t perform the other tracks well, but that these are musical and vocal sweet spots for him and you can hear it. Deep Purple is a deep groove throughout.