Song of the Day #4,892: ‘Essence’ – Wizkid feat. Justin Bieber & Tems

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers in the United States! And what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a song by Nigerian singer Wizkid?

‘Essence’ is a duet with fellow Nigerian vocalist Tems in which the two flirt over Afrobeat rhythms. The version that sits at #11 on this week’s Hot 100 (one slot behind Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating’) also features a verse by Justin Bieber.

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Song of the Day #4,187: ‘Are You Down’ – Lucinda Williams

This track, from Lucinda Williams’ 2001 album Essence, is a perfect example of that record’s spare, haunting loveliness.

Like many songs on the album, ‘Are You Down’ has few lyrics and a whole lot of atmosphere. The interplay of guitar and drums on this track has a distinct Dire Straits vibe, which is certainly a good thing in my book.

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Song of the Day #3,969: ‘Lonely Girls’ – Lucinda Williams

My list of favorite albums in recent years is so dominated by female artists that it’s a shock to look back at 2001 and see how bro-tastic my tastes were then.

Lucinda Williams’ Essence, my #6 album of that year, is the only work by a woman in my top ten.

Now, in my defense, I haven’t found a lot of strong female contenders among the albums I missed out on in 2001. Maybe it just wasn’t a strong year for women in music. But it is striking, especially coming off of a year when five of my top seven albums were by women.

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Song of the Day #1,805: ‘Bus to Baton Rouge’ – Lucinda Williams

essenceI consider myself a lyrics person, but every once in awhile I completely miss the boat and either have no clue what a song is about or don’t take the time to fully appreciate its lyrical content.

Lucinda Williams’ ‘Bus to Baton Rouge,’ the closing track of her 2001 album Essence, eluded me until just this week.

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Song of the Day #950: ‘Essence’ – Lucinda Williams

I’m very excited. I got an email the other day advertising a pre-order sale of the new Lucinda Williams album, Blessed. It’s due out on March 1.

This will be Williams’ fifth album in ten years, which is pretty impressive for a woman who put out only four albums in the 20 years prior to that.

Around the turn of the millennium, she shook off the perfectionism that made her spend 6 years on Car Wheels On a Gravel Road and started churning out records that were rougher around the edges.

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