Why is Aloe Blaccc’s Good Things on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
I defy you to come away from this one without humming “I need a dollar, dollar, dollar that’s what I need…”
What does Aloe Blaccc’s Good Things mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
There were a lot of fun and promising things about the sadly short-lived HBO show, How to Make It In America, and one of those things was the opening theme song, which just happens to be “I Need a Dollar,” from this very here album by Aloe Blacc, Good Things.
I grew up on Long Island, New York and lived in New York City for a spell after graduating from college. Culturally, I feel a closeness and allegiance to NYC that will be part of me for my entire life. And “I Need A Dollar” and the one-minute opening credit sequence for How to Make It In America does an exceptional job of encapsulating the “real” (for lack of a better word) feeling and vibe of being a New Yorker.
It’s about grit, it’s about hustle, and it’s about being around a dizzying array of people from wildly different backgrounds and perspectives all day, every day. It’s about being tough when you have to be, kind whenever possible, and displaying fierce loyalty to friends and family. Including New York City as a whole. Even from afar.
And when a song like “I Need A Dollar” can help conjure up that kind of depth of feeling, music that transports you to very specific feelings that you don’t even completely understand but that the music itself can represent, in a sense, in place of fleshed out rational thought and meaning…
Well, then that’s a pretty good song.
I know. You’re saying, “Just give us the whole song already!” All right, all right, here you go.
I also really enjoy the slinky bass rhythms of “Take Me Back,” and Blacc’s soulful voice and the female backing vocals are really strong.
Here’s a fun, intimate, and super elegant live version with a backing string section.
And “Hey Brother” leans into its ‘70s funk roots quite nicely.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Aloe Blaccc’s Good Things
As I note above, How to Make It In America was sadly short-lived, only airing two seasons on HBO a full decade ago now.
It was uneven at times, but it had a lot of promise and it was always watchable thanks to a great cast that included Bryan Greenberg, Lake Bell, Victor Rasuk, Kid Cudi, Luis Guzman, and Eddie Kaye Thomas (who I like very much but can’t help but always think of as “the guy from the American Pie movies”).
I’ve always been drawn to stories that take place in metro New York, so therefore it’s not shocking that The Sopranos and Mad Men remain two of my favorite TV series of all time.
And if you’re into exceptionally well written thrillers that usually take place in New York or thereabouts, check out novelist Colin Harrison, who is one of my all time favorite authors.
But back to How to Make It In America. I was particularly thrilled with an episode that had a scene that took place at Vselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village that is one of my favorite places on the planet.
Pierogies and Ukrainian beer at three in the morning (in my far flung youth days mostly)? Yes please.
And as we know, my man Paul Kinsey from Mad Men likes his Ukrainian food as well.
Some stats & info about Aloe Blacc – Good Things
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? R&B, Soul, Pop, Retro Soul
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Good Things released? 2010
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #972 out of 1,000
Aloe Blaccc’s Good Things on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.