Bilal- A Love Surreal Album Review by Victoria Asbury

Bilal- Love SurrealTitle:  Love Surreal
Artist: Bilal
Label: Purpose Music Group & Entertainment; Entertainment One
Genre(s): R&B, Soul, Funk, Classic Soul, Alternative
Released: February 26, 2013

Neo-soul and urban alternative music lovers have been “longing and waiting” for a new album from Bilal and what we got was Love Surreal. Although we are wishing that Bilal finally receives the mainstream recognition that he deserved from 1st Born Second, Love Surreal may leave some wishing Mr. Oliver channeled the Bilal of 2001. Love Surreal is very different from the sensual, rich, smooth, R&B and neo-soul sound that we are used to hearing from Bilal. Love Surreal is a good album, but it will be received with mix feelings from Bilal’s original fan-base.

Love Surreal is a funky, airy album that seems to travel through time in regard to the sound and different points in love. The 1960s, 70s, and 80s are heard throughout Love Surreal. For instance, “West Side Girl,” has a 1980s Prince funkiness to it, “Back to Love” has a funky, 1970s vibe, and “Never Be The Same” sounds like it could have easily been sung by the ol’ school Isley Brothers or O’Jays. The content of the album, as the name implies, is about love. Bilal tells of when love feels like a drug in tracks like “Winning Hand” and “Climbing,” as well as when it hurts like the 1960s-infused jazzy, blues track “Slipping Away.”

Although the last two songs, “Butterfly” and “The Flow,” are standout tracks, they seem out of place at first listen. These two tracks sound more modern than the rest of the album and the “love” motif isn’t very obvious. However, in the case of “Butterfly,” the recognition of a lover or loved one’s beauty and potential is a result of the great love that you have for them. And “Flow” is about recognizing a new, beautiful day in which one is faced with jumping into the flow; this track is about a freedom that comes from loving the day and appreciating life.

Although Love Surreal has no classic neo-soul tracks like “Soul Sista” or “Sometimes,” this was a solid alternative album for Bilal. We’ll be on the look out to see if this new experimental album proves to be a recipe for success.

Rating: B+

Favorite Tracks

Track 4: Winning Hand

Track 12: Butterfly

Track 13: The Flow

Bilal- Welcome to a Love Surreal Pt. 1

Bilal- Welcome to a Love Surreal Pt. 2

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