We've all heard the phrase, "if you can't measure it, it doesn't exist." Well, soul musician Aaron "Ab" Abernathy can measure his senior year in high school as one of the most important years in his life. It marked the year he became a man. Using this as the inspiration for his new LP Monologue, Ab allows listeners to follow along on his journey to manhood.
Monologue plays out like a novel, where the Abernathy's expand the perception of family over Ab's expansion of the stripped down soul/R&B music we're used to hearing. Whether he's playing piano, Wurlitzer, synths, guitar, programming drums, live drums, or arranging strings and horn lines, Ab's mastery of musicianship is on full display throughout Monologue's array of colorful, complex compositions, coupled with his rich, layered vocals.
The album opens with him honoring his parents on the whimsical, Parliament-influenced selection "Son Of Larry," followed by the melodic up-tempo "Favorite Girl." On both records, he praises his father and mother and touches on their influence, words of wisdom and bold love. On the groovy "Bachelorette," where we're introduced to Ab's pursuit of his high school love interest, the track gets an assist from long-time collaborators and hip hop heavyweights Phonte and Black Milk.
Ab displays his sultry edge on the Prince-inspired soul-pop records "I See You" and "Pretty Kind," which showcase his raw and playful vocal lead. Doubt creeps in on the soulful mid-tempo "Play It Cool," where he questions if he should profess his love or take the approach of the track's title. The landmark moment in his story comes from the wisdom in his father's advice to be vulnerable, which leads us into the brilliant composition and standout ballad "I Need To Know." Ab delivers his monologue on the title track, where he acknowledges his mistakes and revels in his spirituality and newfound wisdom in love.
Monologue is a touching and refreshing album about family, love, purpose and music. Ab has the ability to make listeners feel connected, each song taking audiophiles on a trip back to their childhood and the nostalgic feeling of young love. Whether you're a part of the Abernathy family or not, Ab opens the door for you to come in and visit. After visiting for a little while, you too might find your Monologue.