With her new release, Currency of Man, Melody Gardot continues to push her craft to another level. Experimenting with the 70’s funk, soul, and gospel as the cinematic backdrop, she uses her voice and words to tell intriguing stories surrounding social and racial injustices.
The sensational “Preacherman” starts off with a choir chanting and kicks into an infectious funk groove. In her calm but anguish tone, she addresses racism: “Don’t recall the Lord sayin’ there’s a difference if you’re black or white / ‘Cause I believe in a world where we all belong and I’m so tired of seein’ every good man gone.” With the recent event of the Charleston shooting, this song captures the sentiment on race that still divides America today.
In the same vein, “Don’t Misunderstand,” which sports an earthy funk groove, references Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” on race. Gardot chants and reminds us that “We are who we are who we are / We do what we can when we can / We only have gotten this far now / so don’t misunderstand, don’t misunderstand who I am.”
On a different topic but related to social injustice, “She Don’t Know” addresses prostitution: “She don’t need no education when the streets are mean / he done seen a revelation now in her jeans / but she don’t know.”
Music wise, Melody Gardot’s Currency Of Man is as rich and expansive as Norah Jones’s Little Broken Heart, but Gardot’s lyrical content is much more daring. With her refined singing and adept storytelling, this is a huge leap as well as her best work up to date.