Neo Soul Today

Neo Soul Today is an authoritative source for informed and intelligent opinion, reviews, news, and other content about neo soul music, its artists, culture, and industry.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Neo Soul Today Album Review: Angela Johnson's "Got To Let It Go"

By Sean
Editor-in-Chief, Neo Soul Today

Artist S/V Rating: R&B/Underground
(What is this?)

“Got To Let It Go” (2005, Purpose Records) is Angela Johnson’s sophomore album. The release of Angela’s (we hope it’s alright if we call her Angela) debut album, “They Don’t Know” (2002, Purpose Records), came after being the lead vocalist and keyboardist of the veteran, NY-based, underground-favorite band Cooly’s Hot Box for roughly 10 years. Angela produced, wrote, and arranged all 12 songs on “Got To Let It Go.”

The Album: A Story of Two Halves
We’re just going to cut to the chase. As a whole – and in a weird way – we love “Got To Let It Go.” We love the album in a weird way because the second half of the album is incredible. Thus, we’ll focus most of our attention there. Tracks 6 through 12 are a carefully crafted, diverse combination of neo soul songs featuring elements of the R&B sound and elements of that British sound characteristic of Cooly’s Hot Box.

We have consistently listened to tracks 6 through 12 on the CD without skipping past a single one. Our favorite track is Early Bird; track 8. It is this track that prompted us to research the album and ultimately make the purchase. Early Bird is a flawless collage of that unmistakable Roy Ayers soul sound combined with the British flavor of the neo soul sound range. What’s even more creative is that Angela switched roles with her friend and normal background vocalist, Tricia Angus. Tricia took the lead on this smooth, soul-soothing track while Angela handled the keyboards, percussion, and string arrangement. This song is also backed by other robust, live instruments including a horn arrangement (Jacques Schwarz-Bart), trumpet (Matt Shulman), violin (Pauline Kim), congas and triangle (Ernesto Abreu), bass (Justin Wallace), and guitar (Jeremy James).

Audio Samples of our 6 Favorite Tracks (courtesy of
Let’s Get Together (featuring Jeremy James)
You’re Here With Me
Early Bird (featuring Tricia Angus)
Tell Me
Where’s the Love
Home Away From Home
Whatever It Takes

As for tracks 1 through 5, we do not dislike them. We simply would not place them in the “incredible” category as is the case with tracks 6 through 12. Nevertheless, it is always difficult to come across a neo soul album where more than half of the songs are very good. Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to come across one where all of the very good songs appear consecutively without the need to skip tracks. Overall, we recommend “Got To Let It Go” as a definite buy.

Neo Soul Today Album Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars

For more background on Angela Johnson, visit her official website:
For more information on Cooly’s Hot Box, visit their official website:
For more information on Purpose Records, visit their official website:

We welcome your comments.


At July 20, 2005 3:33 AM, Anonymous Pru said...

I`m so glad you are doing artist reviews, I will check her music out. I want you to check out Mr KuKu and tell me what you think.

At July 20, 2005 5:55 AM, Anonymous Pru said...

Theres another Neo Soul Artist that I want you to check out "Javier"


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