Son Little, the Grammy-winning R&B artist from Philly (born Aaron Earl Livingston), reportedly wrote the 12-track Aloha in eight days as an exercise in letting go and letting fate rule the day. This is after an unfortunate incident where he lost much of his recent demo output in a hard drive failure accident. The end result comes off feeling urgent, with a dash of devil-may-care.
The project can be encapsulated in “Suffer,” a thoughtful meditation on life and one’s standing in the world. The commercial appeal of “about.her.again” speaks to the track’s catchy folk-soul vibe (so expect to hear it on film and TV soundtracks near you). A lyric like “I won’t fail ya, Mahalia” might have come off corny by lesser artists, but Son Little’s charisma on “Mahalia” makes it a bit more palatable.
Aloha, which simultaneously denotes love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy in Hawaiian, has ham-fistedly come to mean “hello” and “goodbye” in English. In the case of Son Little’s latest, the word means all of the above. Aloha is a pleasant-enough sounding slice of raspy-sounding soul with enough genuine emotion to spare. (Anti)