Sweet like a Hershey's chocolate kiss. Funky as if you forgot how good funk can feel. The sonic equivalent of sun rays bursting through an azure sky. That's "Better", the new single by Angela Johnson. How apt a title, because with each passing year and each new production, Angela Johnson only gets better.
A contender for the most infectious tune in her catalog, the song verifies that Johnson is one of the very best writers/producers/singers working today. Recently touring stages throughout France, this NY-native crafts grooves so tight that it's no wonder why Johnson's "Happy Feelings" was the highlight on Maysa's Metamorphosis (2008). Nor is it surprising that Rahsaan Patterson readily agreed to collaborate with her on "Dream Flight", a track from A Woman's Touch (Johnson's producer project of last year).
"Better" is the culmination of nearly a decade's worth of recording, touring, and producing, both as a solo artist and her work with Cooly's Hot Box. Those who have been following Angela Johnson will recognize the chord changes in the bridge as "distinctly Angela" while the drums and bass are luscious, deep and rich, just like the Cooly's Hot Box cuts that found a home on the hippest European dance floors. Of course, there is her voice, a strident instrument that can become airborne within the space of two notes. Check her phrasing on "When you're touching my skin / You're lighting the fire deep within" at the 3:30 mark and brace yourself.
If you download only one more song before 2009 ends, make it "Better".