Music » Livewire


Saturday, November 2, at the Odeon.


Stevie Wonder has spent most of the past three decades winning accolades -- but few disciples. But on Juslisen, Musiq's second album (his first, Aijuswanaseing, was released under the more fulsome moniker Musiq Soulchild), this Philly-based singer-songwriter is all about Stevie. Musiq's rubbery melisma and sighing organ, his gracefully wandering ballads, his attention to the rhythm track first and foremost is wonderfully evocative of early Wonder, and usually without being derivative.

Sure, Musiq is sometimes too fond of Wonder's later work as well, with its flaccid lyrics, meandering arrangements, and squishy themes. But for the most part, Juslisen packs plenty of irresistible hooks and grooves. On "Religious," Musiq worships a new lover to a thumping, churchy groove, and a funk lick that shouts "Amen!" Yet instead of hearkening back to classic Wonder radio hits, it sounds like right now -- as if Stevie, instead of fading away, had been keeping up all along.

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