Eli Paperboy Reed - Come and Get It Release Date: August 10, 2010
Record Label: Capitol Records
Some music, when you listen to it, just completely and holistically refreshes you. It's like a Gatorade or Arizona beverage following an extended period of strenuous exercise. For example, after I beat overmatched opponents in basketball at my school gym for a couple of hours, there's nothing that I enjoy more than a tall can of Arizona green tea. Sometimes when I'm super thirsty I can actually feel all 23 icy cold fluid ounces guzzling into my stomach. Like I said, refreshing.
Back in about June, I got such refreshment in the form of an unexpected album from an artist whom I had never heard of. Eli "Paperboy" Reed, a soul singer/songwriter from the Boston area, released his third full length album and first for Capitol Records in August. Come and Get It is a wonderful venture into the type of music that, quite frankly, just isn't written anymore. Drawing influences from Chicago-based soul acts like Tyrone Davis, Paperboy (I refuse to refer to him by any other name because this is the best nickname of all time) has a set of pipes that would make anyone swoon.
Paperboy's vocals are fun, passionate and, um, refreshing. Complemented by fantastically arranged soul music from his band, known as The True Loves, Paperboy is the big-time poster boy for a genre that is all but dead in the mainstream. The fact that this 26-year-old who self-released his two first albums could get signed to a major record label is a ray of sunshine in a music industry that usually spawns negativity like headaches at a Buffalo Bills football game.
The brass instruments, playful guitar parts and thumping bass lines make Come and Get It one of the more interesting and enjoyable listens of recent memory. When opener "Young Girl" kicks in, Paperboy and Co. immediately grasp your attention. For people who listen to as much music as the members of this website, a sound like this cannot just be ignored. It's something truly different and original and, erm, refreshing. As Paperboy tells you some story about some girl that he loves, you can't help but be won over by his voice and (you assume) his boyish good looks (which he does have).
"Name Calling" and "Help Me" follow up the opener strongly. Paperboy's lyrics aren't really anything to write home about, but fit this sort of music phenomenally. It wouldn't be right to hear a political anthem or heavy-handed lyricism about some social problem when you're trying to get groovy to the bass line on the title track. That track, which features high-pitched background vocals that could make even the grumpiest lumberjack smile, is the standout on Come and Get It. If this was the 1950s and you were at your high school senior prom, you would most definitely be dancing to this song at one point. And it would be the one song that all of the guys without dates come onto the floor to awkwardly sway back and forth and tap their feet to.
After the first five tracks, Paperboy shakes things up a bit. "Pick A Number" is a slower song, but still has the charming lyrical content found on the beginning of the album. "Tell Me What I Wanna Hear" and closer "Explosion" are highlighted by their brass instrumentation. The former is a dance number that is one of the catchier finds, while the aptly-titled "Explosion" is a blisteringly-paced outburst of a song where Paperboy lets all hell run loose. Meanwhile, "Pick Your Battles" is a notable catch that sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a black-and-white film.
Paperboy has done it. I mean, I don't really know what he's done. He's made this album, Come and Get It, that truly stands in its own category in 2010. While plenty of artists are cashing in on whatever trend is going on, Paperboy and his band are making the kind of music that you listen to in order to escape all that nonsense. Unfortunately this album has gone largely unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. All I know is that when I'm an old man and I'm mad at the world because my feet hurt for no reason, and when my neighbors are blasting their futuristic techno-punk-psycho-babble-nonsense music, I'm going to limp over to my record player and spin Come and Get It until I remember what I like about the world.