New American Songbook: 'The Miseducation Of Eunice Waymon'

Dec 17, 2018

Those close to me know that I am not a fan of the sequel or, even worse, the series, and that I consider the contemporary franchising of narrative a cultural malady of the same sort as the uselessly iterative paintings of Thomas Kincaid, or the entirety of the Oriental Trading Company catalog. It’s just capitalist overproduction and we’d be far better without it.

So you’d think it might follow that the recent release of "The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon" would be easy for me to dismiss. The album, by producer Amerigo Gazaway, is a mashup of songs by Fugees emcee and hip hop legend Lauryn Hill, and the jazz and soul icon Nina Simone — nothing new here, just repackaged, right?

Wrong.

Sewn together with clips from interviews with each musician, the album elevates them to new heights, putting them in conversation with each other and making it sound like the collaboration was always meant to be. Gazaway is a master at this, with several mashup albums already in his catalog, but this is arguably his best work. "The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon" is what a remix ought to be: not merely a repackaging but a reverent reimagining. Check it out on YouTube or Bandcamp.

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