Song of the Day: Charles Bradley – Change for the World

photo by Alex Crick

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Change for the World” by Charles Bradley from his 2016 album, Changes, on Daptone Records.

Charles Bradley – Change for the World (MP3)

In 2011, Charles Bradley broke into the soul scene while in his early 60’s, which would be remarkable even if he were a huge flop and went nowhere. However, he arrived just in time to hop aboard the soul/funk revival that was lead by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, with their Daptone Records label becoming the definitive Soul Mecca to a whole new generation. Bradley’s music seems particularly concerned with age and time, very aware of the fact that the man behind it is approaching 70 in a music world dominated by people in their late 20’s and early 30’s, especially on his recent, and third, release, Changes. In an interview with Fader, he explains that Changes concerns itself with talking “to the young people, hearing what they have to say.”

Appropriately, today’s featured song, “Change for the World”, is a talking blues track in which Bradley acts more as a preacher than a singer – don’t worry, he still wails. It’s a song about the current state of things, with melancholy horns amidst crying organs, busy drums, and the uplifting voices of fellow Daptone group The Gospel Queens. The accompanying video, a grainy technicolor collage of images, juxtaposes images of civil rights protestors being hosed down with footage of Trump speeches underneath lyrics like “stop hiding behind religion, hate is poison in the blood.” It’s a poignant cut from a socially aware album, providing a cultural commentary couched in The Screaming Eagle of Soul’s uniquely funky sound.

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires are on tour right now promoting Changes, will be playing Neumos on May 23rd, and also stopping by KEXP earlier that day at 1:00 PM for an in-studio performance! To hold you until then, check out the video for “Changes,” the title track of his new album and a cover of the classic Black Sabbath song:

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