In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “When the expected is this badass, simply living up to expectations and confirming my preconceptions is a big enough achievement.”
Just look at the above album cover. How amazing does it look? How could this record be anything less than phenomenal? The cover for Sly and the Family Stone’s Fresh is exactly the reason why we have that famous saying, “you should always judge a book by its cover.” If you can look at that cover, and not want to hear what it has to offer immediately, I have to assume you have no soul.
Dirty and strutting and loose and precise, In Time is exactly what I wanted from this band and this era. It could be the opening titles or a mid movie montage in any low budget, Blaxploitation movie from the 70s. The funk is toned down a little and the sex turned up just a tad for If You Want Me to Stay. All the same instrumental ingredients from the previous song are there, but the result is so different. In just two songs, Fresh is impressively wide ranging, while also sounding like a cohesive, single album.When the harpsichord heavy funk of Frisky and wahed guitar of Thankful N’ Thoughtful slither their way out of the speakers, it’s one of those friendly reminders that you will never be as cool as some people. And those people are Sly and the Family Stone. It’s the kind of song that also makes me think I will never see anything as cool as what bands like this were doing in the 70s. For this 80s born white guy, Sly and the Family Stone, and Fresh really is an unattainable level of cool that hasn’t existed in my lifetime.
I don’t think Fresh surprised me a single time. I couldn’t name one Sly and the Family Stone song off the top of my head before listening to this, but I still had a really storing idea of what to expect, and it delivered. Usually, I’d see that as a downside, even if I like the expected, there’s still something a little underwhelming about the predictable. But when the expected is this badass, simply living up to expectations and confirming my preconceptions is a big enough achievement to make Fresh one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time.