Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 9/3/2021

by Juan Thomas
275 views 3 min read

I was up late last night working. We’re closing in on the end of the 2021 fiscal year and it’s all hands on deck…especially when you’re the Deputy Facility Manager at the Embassy of the United States in Colombia. While I was sifting through the 87 unread emails and all of the purchase requests, I was also listening to my Windows Media Player. As a matter of fact, I was listening to the Juan Thomas Presents…Heartbreak Hotel playlist. One of the tracks that played was the Teedra Moses and Jadakiss collaboration, “You’ll Never Find (A Better Woman)”. It’s been a long while since I heard this track but it immediately took me back to the Fall of 2004. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Teedra Moses debut album.

How I first came across this moment? For me, it all started with “You’ll Never Find (A Better Woman)”. It was way back on August 22, 2004. My 2-week military leave in Birmingham had ended and I was driving back to Valdosta (I was stationed at Moody Air Force Base at the time). During the tail end of that 5 ½-hour drive, I found myself on Georgia State Route 122 rolling through Hahira en route to Bemiss Road. Though I had a CD player in The Red Fox, I was listening to local radio and that was the track that played. I was instantly attracted to the beat but it was the Jadakiss rap that really put the track over with me. When I arrived back to my dorm room 15 minutes later, I researched the track and that’s when I found out about Teedra Moses and her debut album, Complex Simplicity. I listened to the 1-minute snippets of the entire album online and I found that I liked it. So I purchased it.

What it meant to me then? At the moment, I felt it was good music. It didn’t seem commercialized like a few of the R&B/soul albums I had heard over the ensuing year such as Dangerously in Love (Beyoncé), Confessions (Usher), It’s About Time (Christina Milian), Afrodisiac (Brandy), and More (Tamia). Even Stone Love (Angie Stone) and Damita Jo (Janet Jackson) seemed as if they were written for commercial appeal, not for just the purity of music. The Teedra Moses debut reminded me on Amel Larrieux’s Bravebird and Joss Stone’s The Soul Sessions. In fact, my favorite track on the album—“Rescue Me”—reminded me a lot of “We Can Be New” off Bravebird in the sense that it embodied a little bit of my love life at the time. Even more than “You’ll Never Find (A Better Woman)” or “Rescue Me” were the other tracks like “Be Your Girl”, “No More Tears”, and “For a Lifetime”. I especially liked “Caution” and “Caught Up” as they were Saturday night rock out jams as I cruised down Bemiss or Inner Perimeter. The title track was also sneaky good. For the better part of 4 years, until I discovered Lina’s best work in Tokyo, it was the top R&B/soul album in my Windows Media Player library.

What it means to me now? As I sit here some 17 years later, I’m amazed at how under the radar that entire album was…even with the features from Jadakiss and Raphael Saadiq. For my money, all $10.99 I paid to download it from the Internet late in the Summer of 2004, it is one of the most complete albums I’ve ever heard. It certainly helped me through a tough stretch during the Lost Decade of Dating and provided somewhat of a soundtrack for study sessions at Odum Library on the campus of Valdosta State University. One of these days when I get back to writing album reviews, I’ll probably give it the proper due but even today, I have no problems admitting that Complex Simplicity is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

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