Monday, August 27, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 4


Isley Brothers continue legacy on 'Eternal'

The Isley Brothers
Grade: A
Dreamworks Records

By Maurice Bobb
Daily Cougar Staff

It isn't often that a group stays together long enough to have a career that spans four decades, but the Isley Brothers have proved that a
marriage of music and group can last forever. 

More than that, though, they've managed to stay relevant in a genre that has always been changing by the minute.

These brothers have not only made their mark on r&b history, they are making sure they are not forgotten in the present.

The Isleys began performing together in the 1950s as teenagers.

Reisige & Taylor/Dreamworks Records

Ronald and Ernie Isley continue their stellar track record on their latest release, Eternal.

Their mother, a pianist, and their father, a professional singer, served as musical influences.

The brothers made waves in the industry in 1962 with the release of their first Top 20 hit, "Twist and Shout." Since then, the Isley Brothers
have sold millions of records, won numerous awards and are indirectly responsible for the pitter-patter of lots of little feet because of the
many unions they've created or sustained with their sweet songs about love.

Ordinarily, an old-school group such as this would be just out of earshot for many fans in this modern era, but the Isleys have managed to
stay with the times by lending their services to the likes of Lil' Kim, Quincy Jones, Nas and 112.

And many listeners know their music because everyone from Public Enemy to Ice Cube to Ja Rule has sampled their sound to give their
tracks that extra "oomph."

Given that not many groups this side of the Rolling Stones have that kind of staying power, Ronald Isley understands that to stay relevant,
you've got to stay on the cutting edge.

"We didn't get to where we are by staying the same," Ronald Isley says. "Always trying out new stuff is what keeps music alive. Seeing
what Carlos Santana did with his last record really raised the bar for us. We set off to do the same, to incorporate new voices into the Isley
Brothers sound."

With their new release, aptly titled Eternal, the Isley Brothers enter the r&b scene at a time when cartoon-y pop tunes flood the airwaves
like bad infomercials at three in the morning.

But if their lead-off smash "Contagious" is any indication, the Isleys are back to lead us back to the promised land of r&b.

Written and produced by the man with the golden touch, R. Kelly, "Contagious" is the type of song that really dives into issues of
heartbreak for the new millennium.

This song takes advantage of Ronald Isley's popular alter ego, Mr. Biggs, as the one who gets played by a beautiful woman in a very
cinematic fashion.

Newcomer Avant makes an appearance on "Secret Lover" an ode to all the lovers out there who long to take a bite of forbidden fruit.

Double-platinum singer Jill Scott adds just the right seasoning to "Said Enough," which explores the exchange between two lovers.

Lyrics like: "Loving you is easy/ Loving you is like breathing/ Winter into spring/ A natural evolution/ Loving you is beautiful/ Loving you is
like food for my soul" showcase Jill Scott's phenomenal songwriting talent.

Other gems include "You're All I Need" and "Settle Down," both produced by industry veterans Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who have
penned hits for some of the biggest names in the business.

Lucy Pearl frontman Raphael Saadiq lends his talent on the smooth "You Didn't See Me" and "Ernie's Jam."

I could go on and on about the merits of this self-proclaimed "Super Bowl record" the Isleys have released on the unsuspecting public, but
that would take away valuable time that could be spent relaxing with someone special while Eternal plays in the background. 

I'm no doctor of love, but I sometimes play one on TV.

Bottom line: Take a heavy dose of this CD, listen to it over and over with a "friend," and don't call me in the morning.

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