Friday Finds: "What Happened, Miss Simone?"

I recently came across the news that an album named "Nina Simone Revisited," which consists of covers of Nina Simone songs by Usher, Jazmine Sullivan, Lauryn Hill, and others is going to be released in July.  Usher's cover, along with Jazmine Sullivan's, and at least one of Ms. Lauryn Hill's are already available for downloading on iTunes or viewing on YouTube.  Usher's makes me feel like the album should have been named "Nina Simone Disemboweled." It is smooth, pretty, and overproduced.  All things Nina Simone's music is not. Her music is raw, honest, complex, and challenging.   I have confidence that Usher and Jazmine Sullivan have the ability deep within them to reach out and punch their audience in the gut using only the strength of their emotion and convictions carried on their voice.  They definitely don't do that here.  Ms. Lauryn Hill comes close, but her voice has a tendency to be overcome by her emotions rather than strengthened by them. Nina Simone's voice was strong enough to clearly carry her emotions.

While the initial disappointment will not keep me from checking out the full album when it is released, I am much, much, much more excited about checking out the documentary, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Scheduled to be released on Netflix tomorrow (June 26th).

The preview gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. You can check it out here: http://youtu.be/moOQXZxriKY

I have been voraciously watching her live performances and interviews on YouTube.  The things she said to her audience?  Priceless, awful, and awesome.  She would be labeled "Kanye in a dress" by today's media.

The problem with listening to Nina Simone sing is that so very much of today's music (or yesterday's) seems so thin, puny, and meaningless by comparison. Empty. It's hard to go back to it and feel truly satisfied.

If you get a chance to check out the documentary, I would love to hear your thoughts.  I'm going to attempt to watch it this weekend.  Please note that I haven't seen it yet and the trailer doesn't say what it is rated so I refuse to be held liable if if is awful or offensive.  Watch at your own risk.  Haha but seriously.

Lots more to come, I hope.  I've been listening to some really exciting new stuff and reading more than usual, so if I ever get enough free time it could actually get quite lively around here.  Also, I've crossed a few things off my 35 Before 35 list, so that is super exciting!