Free – Lisa Shaw

I can’t recall exactly how Lisa Shaw’s music was first brought to my attention, but there’s a pretty good chance that I was on the internet and one of her songs came up, which then of course, prompted me to do a little more investigating. I later discovered that she’s Canadian born and of Jamaican heritage. “Yah, mon!” “Irie!” “Seen?” “How come she doesn’t have dreadlocks?” And all that boring, cliched, stereotypical type of stuff. She also frequently collaborates with a Bass player in a reggae band named Miguel Stuart, who also doubles as a House DJ, better known by his stage name, Miguel Megs. No. That is MIGS. Auto Correct, you are actually IN-correct! Lisa’s second album, “FREE” was executively produced by Migs and released in 2009 on his imprint, Salted Music. The CD was eventually purchased at a closing down sale in 2011 at a shop called So Music in Sydney Australia. I could’ve sworn that it was then turned into a Nepalese restaurant. Meanwhile, Google Maps suggests otherwise. But anyway, I digress, as usual. Here are a few words on each song:

Better Days: Just lay back and chill while the big bass booms all the way through this tune as Lisa informs her listeners that “there will be better days” in their lives. Clearly, that’s the main message here, which is most definitely an encouraging one and something we can all relate to. Although, it’s most probably about Lisa moving on from a certain situation in her life that inspired her previous album, but it’s still a great way to get things going. And yes, indeed, it could make for some great bedroom music.

Honey: A slightly more upbeat tune, in which Ms Shaw sings of somebody who “touched her life.” The lyrics sheet says: “You comer over me like honey,” but she’s clearly saying, “Come over me,” so which is it? At any rate, it’s a sexy song, but it remains very classy. That’s what you want right there. Yes, the honey metaphor has been used many times before but it still works.

Find The Way: The first outright dance song on the album was produced by the late Ethan White of Tortured Soul. It’s quite a breezy house tune where Lisa sings of searching deep within her soul, while God has kept her safe. So, with that in mind, it can be interpreted as being quite spiritual. Musically, it would’ve been exactly what her fans were expecting from her.

Like I Want To: If only people were bumping and grinding to this song in mainstream nightclubs. Yes, it’s about making Lisa feeling “tingly” and telling her partner that he makes her “feel right like I want to,” but it’s also about this person being her “brighter way.” It doesn’t sound like it’s anything too deep on the surface, but it could be to her. We don’t know.

Free: The title track is actually a tad bit faster than all of the other songs we’ve heard so far. It’s one of those moments where Lisa has met a fellow who she feels a connection with, but he keeps trying to deny it. “You are all I feel, so good, so real.” She mentions the dude running away, so it kinda reminds you of two little kids playing that game on the school playground where the girl’s trying to kiss him and he’s bolting for his life. Just an observation, that’s all.

Music In You: This song’s about trying to find the answers to certain questions that you may stumble upon throughout your life, but then you find that “music” within yourself that guides you and becomes your shining light. Music can be very uplifting and this song proves the point. Forget about over-analysing the lyrics, just dance, dammit!!

All Night High: Essentially this is another one of those songs about reaching for that positive high whenever things aren’t going too well for you, while in the process making somebody else in her life feel good. It’s another message of encouragement, which is great. Just by looking at its title, you may think it could be about another type of high, but it ain’t like that!

Feel: A little more down-tempo this time, but still dance orientated. The electric piano sounds great on this one, as it does elsewhere on the album. Exactly what is “it” that Lisa is singing about? We don’t know, but she’s wondering if the person she’s directing these words towards feels the same way she does. And this feeling has her soul dancing in the rain. Starting to see pictures aren’t ya? That’s great.

Can You See Him: Whether fictitious or real, this song is about a fellow who confuses Lisa and understands her demands as a woman, yet he’s so far away like Mark Knoplfer. She thinks he has something to say. What is it? We don’t know. This is the last “house” song on the album before it goes back to the more R&B based material that was displayed earlier.

I’m Okay: This song definitely has a much deeper meaning, as it comments on people being colour blind, while they act incredibly righteous and try to find good things in what’s perceived as evil. It’s one of the many songs on the album cowritten by Dave Warrin.

Tomorrow: There’s really no other way to describe this song, other than stating that it absolutely oozes sensuality, as Lisa’s voice glides over the track and seduces her listeners in the process. Then of course, you have the video, which seems to be somewhat of an homage to “Eyes Wide Shut,” as it features Lisa performing the tune in a small jazz club while its patrons don Venetian Masks. Men all over the globe will be hypnotised when they listen to this song. Guaranteed.

Inside My Love: A dub reggae groove chugs along while an old vinyl record crackles in the background, which then gives one the impression that an uncredited sample has been used on the track. Or maybe it was just given that particular affect. Again, you could interpret this one any way you wanted to. It could either be looked at as relaxing or seductive, which is probably more appropriate given its title.

Sky High: One more smooth & laid back tune to take us out. The slapped bass lines and Fender Rhodes pianos compliment Lisa’s vocals very nicely. It’s the perfect way to conclude her second studio album. Of course, “Sky High” by Lisa Shaw is not to be confused with the first interlude on Outkast’s “Aquemini” album, which mentions a song by Goodie Mob of the same name.

Verdict: People talk all kinds of smack about house music, but it’s not as easy to evaluate as you think it is. For that matter, neither is any music. As for Lisa Shaw’s second album, it fits the category of Late Night Music absolutely perfectly. It’s a great collection of organic, laid back house grooves and sexy, sensual seductive ballads. Turn all the lights off and zone out to this whole entire album.