On Record Store Day, one of the most fun releases was a 7-inch single by Erykah Badu and longtime collaborator James Poyster (“On and On” and “Window Seat”.) The duo covered Squeeze’s “Tempted” on vinyl, with the limited edition release limited to just 3,500 copies. Fans clamored for an online version of the song and now it has arrived.
“Tempted” was recorded by the New Wave band back in 1981 when it didn’t manage to crack the top 40 in any country where it was released. It peaked at no. 41 in the UK, no. 45 in Canada and no. 49 in the US. But the song proved to have a long shelf life and may be Sqeeze’s most recognizable and popular song. How did this happen? Most commentators suggest it has to do with the song’s ubiquity in pop culture, where it was featured on the soundtrack to “Reality Bites” and in commercials for Burger King, Heineken, and the Gap, and appeared in video games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Rock Band.
Badu’s track was arranged by Derrick Hodge, Thundercat and Ali Jackson and the accompanying instrumental is fantastic as well.
Badu has a reputation for recording strong covers. She worked with D’Angelo to produce strong takes of the duets of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, most notably on the song “Precious Love.” Badu recorded a cover of Chaka Khan’s “Stay” on her 1997 album Live! However, Badu hasn’t released any new music since 2015, when her mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone delighted fans. The mixtape covered songs from folks like New Edition, Drake and Usher. Her other single releases include “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” which she put into the world after an NTS Radio mix.
Badu is an R&B singer-songwriter with eclectic taste that allows her to mix and match a number of different styles effortlessly. The songstress has been called the queen of neo-soul and has been compared to Billie Holliday. Badu’s jazzy version of “Tempted” reveals why it has emerged as such a hit, while turning it into something completely different. The melody remains intact (and you still can’t wipe it from your mind when you hear it), but shifts into different modes for the other lyrics.
Badu’s five studio albums include Baduizm, Mama’s Gun, Worldwide Underground, New Amerykah, Pt.!: 4th World War, andNew Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh). Her live album was released in 1997, a compilation album, Icon, in 2010, her mixtape in 2015. She has also been featured on several albums, including Common’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense (“All Night Long”) and Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady (“Q.U.E.E.N.”).
Poyster has been a member of The Roots for 12 years. You can see him on tour with the band this summer. Badu has a busy summer schedule that will take her to Germany, Portugal, London, the Netherlands, Long Beach, before wrapping up her summer set at the 2019 Riverfront Jazz Festival in Dallas. The Jazz Festival includes Tom Braxton, Oleta Adams, Avery*Sunshine, Shaun Martin, Tito Puente Jr., Rhonda Ross, Jonathan Butler, and Art Sherrod Jr.