Chaka Khan Hello Happiness Island Records
These days, the term “iconic” gets bandied about haphazardly. There are few artists who really deserve the moniker of legend. But the inimitable Chaka Khan is one of them. Her decades-long career has spanned everything from funk, disco, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and gospel, and her glass-shattering vocal range is amongst one of the most revered in the game. That being said, while her 13th studio album, Hello Happiness, dutifully showcases her impeccable talent, the album itself doesn’t quite rise to her level of greatness.
Produced by ex-Major Lazer member and frequent M.I.A. collaborator Switch, Hello Happiness seeks to marry Khan’s trailblazing 70s roots with a more contemporary feel, and tracks like the disco-tinged Like Sugar achieve this effect through inventive percussion. But clocking in at merely seven songs, Hello Happiness feels more like a brief study in divadom than the reinvigorating comeback album Khan deserves. Don’t Cha Know tries to revive the infectious funk of Khan’s time with her first band Rufus, but comes off as more of a meandering interlude that could use more of her personality and power.
As her first album in 12 years, Hello Happiness is enough to satisfy Khan stans’ thirst for new material. But as the reigning Queen of Funk, it’s a shame that the album doesn’t see her reach for the heights we know she is capable of.