Roots' Thompson In The Mix With 'Misery'
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Roots drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson will on Feb. 14 release his second BBE mix CD under the "Babies Makin' Babies" header.Just in time for Valentine's Day, Roots drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson will on Feb. 14 release his second BBE mix CD under the "Babies Makin' Babies" header. "Misery Strikes Back ... No More Babies” features selections from the Ohio Players, Albert King, Jermaine Jackson, Betty Davis and Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta, among others.
And while the first "Babies Makin' Babies" fulfilled Thompson's goal of creating "the CD you grab for when you're relaxing with your significant other," the new edition soundtracks the other side of the love equation.
"Being as though I've experienced love and breakup since the first album came out, I was like, well, let me make a soundtrack for people that just want to be melancholy," he tells Billboard.com. "I want people to know that not only am I the president, but I too was a client. Sometimes it's almost easier to feel sad than it is to be in love."
From a short list of 30 tunes, Thompson eventually whittled the track list down to 12, but not without searching hard for the appropriate blend of music and lyrics. "It's very hard to find a woman's voice expressing genuine grief, which is why we were racking our brains to get the Syreeta song cleared," he says. "That represents to me, 'OK, we had a failed relationship. Can we land the plane in a civilized manner or crash and burn?'"
"Same thing with the men's side," he continues. "I had a whole bunch of misogynistic stuff. [The O'Jays'] 'I Want To Be Free' would have been the first song. But [the Ohio Players'] 'Our Love Has Died' is more significant. The Betty Davis song is the only one where someone deals with the psychology of, ‘I'm afraid to love you and you're afraid to love me so we're just going to hide in our corners.’”
But what about the album cover, which appears to show a letter from Thompson to BBE co-founder Pete Ardarkwah explaining that he missed a photo shoot because he caught his girlfriend in the act of cheating on him?
"It's a running joke," he says with a laugh. "The first cover was something I drew at the last minute, because I missed the photo shoot. So I figured, why not do something cartoony and silly?"
Thompson is already conceptualizing the next album in the series, which will be called "The Sunday Drive" and could be out as early as August. "This is going to be my favorite one," he says. "It will be the kind of stuff you play when you're in the park or relaxing. It doesn't have to be about love or breakups, but the mood has to consistently fit. Those are the compilations I make the best."
Here is the track list for "Misery Strikes Back ... No More Babies":
"Our Love Has Died," Ohio Players
"Mother/Son Bedroom Talk," the Blackbyrds
"Anti Love Song," Betty Davis
"If You Didn't Love Me (Don't Go Away)," D.J. Rogers
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," Al Green
"I Almost Lost My Mind," Albert King
"Cause We've Ended As Lovers," Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta
"I'm Sorry," the Delfonics
"Good Morning Heartache," Natalie Cole
"That's the Way I Feel About 'Cha," Bobby Womack
"You're Supposed To Keep Your Love for Me," Jermaine Jackson
"One Look Over My Shoulder (Is This Really Goodbye?)," Average White Band