Mickey Taelor’s Essentials: Album Review

What is it about Mickey’s Taelor’s music that makes for essential listening? That would be her ability to bring her soulful vocals to an array of musical moods, from the soul house of the sun drenched “This is For you” to the hypnotic and teasing groove of “3 stacks” which has a sizzling hot video directed by Kwaz Fraser to accompany the tantalising vocals of seduction and desire; Essentials really does have it all. The Pomona, California native’s latest offering largely produced by Grammy nominated Willie B, is a sublime blend of nostalgic old skool instrumentals as heard on the jazz tinged “Trainwreck” which would fit perfectly with a live jazz band performance with Mickey crooning her delectable vocals draped in a white slip dress, hair adorned with oversized white lilies and delicate pin curls framing her face; and the new skool sounds are also present which can be heard on the Hip Hop heavy track ‘Complicated’ Featuring Boogie, the track has an underlying thumping bass fused with the overtones of an exploratory horn which snakes around the listeners brain mockingly whilst Mickey and Boogie in equally mocking overtures query – “So why you gotta make it so complimented, I rap 1, 2, microphone check 1,2” allowing Mickey to present her diversity as an artist by flexing her rapping skills. Shades of Mickey’s reggae influenced roots can be found on the track “Work it out” which is a certified BBQ beat that your guests can bounce along to while you grill some jerk chicken and pass the peach schnapps, it’s a perfect summer jam which will have you packing your beach bag and booking the next flight to Barbados. Mickey brings the sass by sweetly urging “Everybody find a hottie don’t f*ck it up.”

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Mickey’s vocals soar when she is at her most emotional on the tracks ‘Gemini 3.0’ and ‘Love architects (Roll up) ‘Gemini 3.0’ has Mickey missing a lover who is now distant due to a love triangle, she pleads with her lover to “Smoke with me, fight for me, I never want to let you go, make love with me I got nowhere else to go” Mickey wants things the way they were and is desperately trying to repair the ruins of the romance. Interestingly, featured artist J. Anthny joins the track to offer his perspective on the situation asking what it is Mickey wants from him and confesses he is confused by her – “Sometimes you say yes when you mean no. Sometimes you say fast when you mean slow” alluding to the nature that most Gemini’s are known to exhibit. It’s a duplicitous duet full of emotion and the bittersweet trials lovers often face. ‘Love architects (Roll up)’ is another standout track on this classy kaleidoscope of an album, here Mickey is caught in a tug of hearts. On the track Mickey expresses the desire to leave the emotional ties of a relationship that has become toxic but feels powerless to leave as her soul is entwined with her lovers “But I’m stuck now Mr. Power of your soul now, got my body on shutdown, never givin’ up now.” As the first half of the track comes to a close Mickey resolves she must run to free herself. Now free of her troubles Mickey decides to celebrate her new found freedom by rollin’ up and getting lit with Diamond Lane’s Stoney tha dealer. The track shifts to a dark and moody hood banger worthy of being blasted from Stoney’s ‘White Rivera’ Stoney’s trap style vocals aid the turn up and lace the track ensuring we go out on a literal ‘HiiGrade.’

Like the beginning of the ‘Essentials’ project destiny is calling Mickey and destiny’s design seems to be carving out a place for a diverse, soulful and unique songstress. Mickey Taelor is Essential to every music lovers’ collection.

Cammy Thomas