Spin Me Right Round: Feel 'The Pendulum Vibe'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When neo-soul was wobbling on it's toddler legs, Joi Gilliam stepped up to the plate, and knocked the movement into a home run. But she didn't get any credit for her bonafide perfect play. Joi's 1994 debut, The Pendulum Vibe, has become a cult classic for soul fans as at the time of its release, it was clearly ahead of its time. Before Erykah Badu donned a head wrap, and D'Angelo (and his abs) slinked on it, Joi, along with producer Dallas Austin, put forth an effort that was jazzy, slick, and downright sexy. It's an album that brought Joi critical acclaim, even the Queen of Reinvention herself, Madonna adored this album so much that she retooled her 1994 Bedtime Stories to follow in its vein. So what exactly is comprised inside the wrapper of this soulful treat to make folks go full on worship mode? From 70's love grooves like the breezy horn fused, "Memories" to the hypnotic boom of "Sunshine & Rain" , The Pendulum Vibe engages in head bobbing grooves that literally engulf you from the press of the play button. The lyrical content is one to marvel as Joi's hit track, "I Found My Niche" flows on a positive discovery of independence as self-enjoyment is explored in the slinky, "Narcissa Cutie Pie" (ooh, kinky). Opening track "Freedom" might surprise you as it features backing vocals from an all-star line-up of Mary J. Blige, TLC, En Vogue, Vanessa Williams, SWV, Aaliyah, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Queen Latifah and Brownstone...wow, that's almost every great female group/vocalist from the 90's. Hibernated on for far too long, The Pendulum Vibe, is what you would want from an album...variety, depth and captivating grooves that are guided by a vocalist who isn't afraid to color outside of the lines and take us on an escape from the norm.

Rating: 9.6/10

Is she hanging by a noose?!?...whoa whoa whoa...Trippy vid for a trippy but amazing song...Oh, wow, she's in a glitter infested body suit that filled with WIN


  1. Great article and this is truly an album for your 20's or for anyone in a stage of self discovery, acceptance and asserting independence. I've always been a bit peeved that she never gets credited with being at the forefront of the new soul sound that emerged in the 90's. Her and Groove Theory.

  2. Wonderfully put adeosun, this IS a good album for those reasons and I fully agree, she should be credited for what she's done for the neo-soul movement. I feel people forget about her because she came out with a two hits (from my knowledge) and then kind of vanished, but she's been around, but not in the sense of mainstream "around", and it's a shame cause I wonder if she had stuck around what she would've brought to the table


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