Musiq Soulchild’s 2002 Album Still Drives Listeners ‘Half Crazy’

Only two years after captivating listeners with her debut album, AijuswanaseingPhiladelphia native Musiq Soulchild returned with a 2002 masterpiece just listen. The LP not only solidified Soulchild’s popularity, it also showed how versatile and timeless neo-soul could be. Decades later, fans still connect with those tracks that propelled him to the top of the Billboard 200 and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album.

Listen to Musiq Soulchild Juslisen on Apple Music or Spotify.

Released at a time when the “gangsta” lifestyle was heavily glorified and Southern sounds were starting to make noise, Juslisen had something for everyone. It was a melting pot of musical genres, with R&B, hip hop, funk and gospel all thrown into the mix. Hit single, “Halfcrazy” led the way, sampling a 1960s French soundtrack for its delicate guitar. The song works so well because it never gives a clear resolution. In an interview in 2021 for Vibe, Soulchild reflected on this style of songwriting: “It’s the space I like to work in. Most people like to go black or white, like to go up or down, or good or bad. I’ve never really been interested in extremes. I mean gray. So much gray that no one likes to talk about.

Musiq Soulchild’s gentle yet robust technique has always stood out among its peers. But there were obvious antecedents. In this same Vibe interview, he distinguishes D’Angelo‘s impact as a huge reason for its own success. “There would have been no path, there would have been no context, there would have been no reference, there would have been no interest if it were not for a thing … There wouldn’t have been someone saying, ‘Maybe, let’s try this kid from Philadelphia doing all this neo-soul stuff.’

Which makes Juslisen so exceptional is the subject that Musiq Soulchild has addressed so frankly. Few contemporary artists dealt with the same issues. We must see artists like Stevie WonderDonny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye to hear someone so beautifully describe the honeymoon phase of having feelings for someone, as Musiq does in “Newness.” The audacious vulnerability to dwell on topics like falling in love with someone who isn’t fully reciprocated – or who is simply being kept due to past heartaches – was unique at the time. Juslisen has been freed.

Perhaps more importantly, these are topics that continue to resonate. When asked what makes a timeless love song, Musiq once said, “I think it has to be something related to something real. I had people telling me that all the time. ‘You talk about my life, you talk… Are you stalking me? You are spying on me ?'” Juslisen has a lot of those moments because timeless music has no expiration date.

Listen to Musiq Soulchild Juslisen on Apple Music or Spotify.

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