Friday, July 24, 2009

The Queen of the Hook

I can't get over how brilliant The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is. I recently put it on again and was re-blown away, the way I seem to be every 3 years or so ever since 1998. Did I just say 1998??? damn.


dr. kittybrains said...

I agree. A phenomenal album - even the bonus tracks ('Tell Him' and her brilliant cover of 'Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You') are amazing. You've inspired me to put this back on the 'pod.

dr. kittybrains said...

Of course, the answer to why there hasn't (and probably won't be) an adequate follow-up may have something to do with this, from Wikipedia:

Though The Miseducation was largely a collaborative work between Hill and a group of musicians known as New Ark (Vada Nobles, Rasheem Pugh, Tejumold and Johari Newton), there was "label pressure to do the Prince thing," wherein all tracks would be credited as "written and produced by" the artist with little outside help.[6][9] While recording the album, when Hill was asked about providing contracts or documentation to the musicians, she replied, "We all love each other. This ain't about documents. This is blessed."[6]

In 1998, New Ark filed a fifty-page lawsuit against Hill, her management, and her record label, stating that Hill "used their songs and production skills but failed to properly credit them for the work."[10] The musicians claimed that they either wrote or produced 13 of 14 tracks on Miseducation [11], despite the liner notes of the album claiming that it was "produced, written, arranged and performed by Lauryn Hill." New Ark requested partial writing credits and monetary reimbursement.[12] The suit was settled out of court in February 2001 for a reported $5 million.[1]

New Ark's lawyer, Peter C. Harvey, scoffed at Hill's image as a prolific songwriter. “She is not a musician, she is not a producer...I dare say if you put Lauryn Hill in a studio alone, she couldn’t do it again."[13] . In a 2005 Interview, Lauryn responded saying " I am a Songwriter, Producer and a Musician and that I gave people too much credit that they didn't truly deserve. I can do it again, because I am a Artist thats speaks from my heart and from my mind. If people benefit off my new music to come then so be it, I will only make music to give information to my own children".

texplush said...

to say she's "not a musician" is clearly a ridiculous overstatement. I don't think that anyone would argue that all the songs on her unplugged album (unofficially her 2nd record) are 100% her, and though they are certainly raw unwieldy and unpolished, they are pretty great. Her talent is undeniable, and any great producer could craft those tunes into an album as good as Miseducation. Which is not to say the work New Ark did on Miseducation isn't flat out fantastic.
I think the major barrier to a new album is her emotional instability, not her inability to produce an album herself.