New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
by Erykah Badu
Released: Mar 2010
Label: Motown (Kedar)
After dedicating her last album to the polarized weirdness that is America in the 21st century, Erykah Badu's focus on Part II circles back in on itself -- or perhaps, on herself. The music is still mildly hallucinatory -- "20 Feet Tall" puts us in some kind of altered, emotional Wonderland -- but the drug-addled effects are dialed down in favor of a return to jazzy neo-soul. And if the personal is political, then it's still a political album, but the soldiers in Iraq get no shout-outs here. Love -- joke-love, money-love, real love -- occupies these approachable and sometimes brilliant songs.