Former NEXT frontman RL is jumping into 2015 in the right state of mind. Last time we heard from him he dropped “Aye” to clear the air and let his fellow band members know how he really felt. But like many of us, he’s wiping his slate clean and beginning this year’s musical journey by taking on Donny Hathaway’s powerful anthem “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Unfortunately we are still dealing with a heavy amount of racial tension and discord in the United States, so the words of this classic song are as timely and appropriate now as they were back in 1973.
As for this specific rendition, RL’s vocal delivery is undeniable. He sings beautifully here and places his crisp riffs and runs quite cleverly. But something about this take lacks the heart and soul of the original. The production is slightly overdone and a bit more upbeat than the original. When Hathaway wailed “brighter days will soon be here” not only did you feel it but you also believed it. RL’s reboot is less of an anthem and more of a laid-back groove. Nonetheless, it’s great to hear him once again, and we’re looking forward to more from him soon.