! = recommended
* = all-ages
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"Let's get on 95 / and feel the fire."
Charles Bradley isn't just a performer, he's a force. He's an experience. He's a feeling in your guts that all will be right with the world if we just love each other and try hard enough, that we can simultaneously transcend our heartbreak and embrace those sharp corners of our hearts that shape us. And his latest single, "Strictly Reserved For You," manages to embody his one-of-a-kind essence in the most beautiful and complete of ways -- it's a fully legit track, whether for your next mixtape or your next party playlist, and leads me to believe that the new album (Victim of Love, out last month on Daptone) is going to do some serious damage on this year's best-of lists.
With that said, we've got to take a minute to talk about this gem of a video. It seriously creates a near-indescribable level of joy that translates the heartburst-y bliss of Charles as we know and love him, presented with a hip, beautiful, clean-but-not-sterile vision that almost feels like we're following him through a week of his life. We see the streets he walks every day, we see his coffeeshop moments, his dance moves and work days and park days: Charles In His Van, Charles On His Street, Charles In His Jacket, Charles On A Soundstage, Charles In The Grass. (And ugh, can someone please make a .gif out of Charles Being Birthed By A Hydrangea Bush?? SO GOOD.) It's a three-and-a-half minute capture of the best of Charles Bradley, and if you've had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, you know just how well this is doing him justice. He's got the love, alright. Strictly reserved for you, and you, and you too! (Yes, YOU.)
Do yourself a favor and pick the album as soon as you can get yourself to the record store, and spend the rest of your morning falling in love with a few loops of this video. You won't regret it -- promise.