FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2016 |
Posted by: Mike Montemarano
Charles Bradley's incredibly heavy rendition of Black Sabbath's "Changes" illustrates the ways in which embellishing a song with one's own emotional and creative perspective has the potential to rekindle and make so much greater the riveting emotional impact a song can have on its listeners.
The simplicity of the six-minute long music video is what really strikes the eye. Bradley's barren eyes stare into the camera, as he bares his heart to relive the hurt he experiences at the loss of his mother. He wordlessly reacts to the lyrics, and it becomes genuinely difficult to look away from the screen. Bradley's journey can be understood through the way he uses his amazingly full and soulful musical style to channel the hurt within his life into some of the most authentically Motown-influenced music that can be heard in person today.
His journey is a bleak one full of heartache; his youth was spent either in homelessness or working odd jobs to get by on his own from the age of fourteen and onward. "Why Is It So Hard" encompasses this journey, as do many of his other most well-known tracks. Just give him a listen, and you'll get it. After attempting to front a band and follow his lifelong aspirations to make soul music, he was drafted into the Vietnam War. He continued as a James Brown impersonator, and by a spur-of-the-moment chance was picked up in person by Daptone Records and began production in 2011.
His music reflects his lifelong journey of clinging to the experience of love and compassion as the only way to make it through a world whose odds were relentlessly against him. As a one-of-a-kind soul singer in today's world, his breathtaking performances bring back what the world has in many ways forgotten: what Motown music of the times stood for. Bradley's cover of "Changes" does not lack the luster nor the weight that is so present in the vibrant, fully-backed songs he puts forward in a style that is timeless and universally appealing.