Stitch Reviews: Superstar
Album Title: Superstar
Artist: Laurel Aitken
Release Date: August 23, 2005
Record Label(s): Liquidator Music
The late Laurel Aitken was one of the greatest Jamaican (-Cuban) musicians in its history. The ten-track album Superstar, released shortly after his death in 2005, collects some of his best work from the 70s and 80s and serves as a solid introduction to his body of work.
Opening the album is the titular “Superstar”. This track has classic doo-wop notes pulled until they’re slow like molasses. This song is a very solid start to an album that makes me want to dive into Aitken’s expansive back catalog immediately. Following that, “If You Need Good Loving Tonight” is cheeky, kind of sexy (in an old school way), and a delight to the ears. This is the kind of music my mom grew up listening to as a young adult and I get such a kick out of following in her footsteps with this one.
If you’re an islander like me, “Rum & Coconut Water” is a song for thirst quenching. This easy-going ode to the Caribbean walks a line between a love song for locals and a nod to tourists. While all of Superstar is perfectly geared to hit me in the nostalgia center of my mind, “Rum & Coconut Water” makes me long for my own island home.
“Something’s Gotta Be Wrong” makes me think of iconic reggae artists like the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers. With a catchy chorus and a solid beat, this is one of the best songs on the entire album. Following that is “Ooh Baby” and “Dance To The Music”, two songs with a funky but folksy sound that instantly inspire dancing in your seat.
In the mood for a little old-school romance? “Gloria” is a sweet and simple ode to the titular Gloria. In the same vein, Aitken’s song “Maria” is a slightly steamier song that clearly pulls from his Cuban roots in the bilingual blend to the lyrics and the music itself. Where “Gloria” is gentle and full of praise, “Maria” is full of pleading with a lover on the way out. A little something for everyone, I feel.
“People of the World Unite” has a groovy beat backing a message of freedom, unity, and revolution. Honestly, it pairs well with the drum beats in “Down in Africa”. These songs were made to go together, I feel.
Closing out the album is “Who Say”. With a slower rhythm and lyrics that reference the bible (literally the name-dropping several books of the bible at one point), this song should’ve been interesting enough to close the album out on a high note. However, this song was murky and took several listens on its own for me to get on its level more or less.
I recommend this album if: you’ve got Boomer parents and you miss the music they used to have you clean the house to on Saturday/Sunday mornings while dancing your butt off,if you’re big on nostalgia as these songs are all a throwback to the 70s and 80s