Shawn Lee’s partnership with Ubiquity Records has undoubtedly led to the most musically prolific time of his career. When you’re known to release several albums within the span of a single year, having more hits than misses is certainly admirable. Sing A Song is yet another for the hits category and a reminder that his harmonic home base will always be soul music.
At times it may feel that Mr. Lee is stuck in the 1960s, but his latest album is not a ticket to ride the retro train. The attention to detail within the production and arrangement of these songs feels too authentic to be a gimmick, sometimes infused with a feel-good pop sheen that would make Berry Gordy, Jr. nod in approval. “It Takes Two” has that Motown sparkle and the confident vocals of Marcus Malone shine brightest of all. “Swimming Pool” is that 45 B-side you can’t help but sing along to, hitting every “shoo-wop, shoo-wop” and “wee-ooo” on repeated listens.
Sun-drenched folk settles in on “Fade Up,” paving the way for some psychedelic soul and one of the album’s finest moments. Mr. Lee heads back home to Kansas on “Older,” teaming up with Miles Bonny for some grown man reflections on life. Contemplation makes way for supreme silliness with the cleverly titled “Christopher Walken on Sunshine.” Over a groove similar in feel to Mayer Hawthorne’s “Just Ain’t Gonna Work It Out,” Princess Superstar spits lazy afternoon rhymes with her tongue planted firmly in cheek. The album closes with the smoky vocal tones of Paul Fryer on “Meadow in the Summer” over a sentimental and quietly symphonic composition that will have you wondering why Shawn Lee isn’t writing film scores on a regular basis.