Isley Brothers continue
legacy on 'Eternal'
The Isley Brothers
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 Isleys began performing together in
the 1950s as teenagers.
Reisige & Taylor/Dreamworks
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
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
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
Newcomer Avant makes an appearance on "Secret
Lover" an ode to all the lovers out there who long to take a bite of forbidden
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
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