This is the year for Alabama Shakes. It’s been 3 years since their debut album, Boys and Girls (2012), and after the announcement of their sophomore album, Sound & Color, released April 21st, along with their first single “Don’t Wanna Fight,” it seemed impossible if the soul-funk rockers from Alabama could top this. Nothing is impossible in relation to this band, and “Gimme All Your Love,” is sheer musical bliss deriving from the innermost corners of the soul, delivered vocally by Brittany Howard.
The track immediately begins with a slow guitar, then raises on a high and fast paced note, thanks to the parallelism between guitar and drums. From here on, musical genius is heard. The track slows down once again with a rhythm blues guitar and completes the fullness of sound with a keyboard. These sounds are mere seconds that are well-thought out, and carefully placed for the first 20 seconds of the song, not knowing what to expect.
The song now stays at the slower-tempo, as the drums, blues guitar, and soft keys, guide Howard’s sincere voice. Howard begins to softly croon and lull to whomever she is speaking to, noting how “so much is going on” and asking for time to sit and talk. This is when the magic happens. The music is the reflection of the emotions and are in sync with the lyrics. Howard then asks, “…tell me, what’s wrong?” as the song builds with the crunchiness of a guitar, vibrating its angst.
Holding on to this emotionally charged part of the song, Howard sings, in an exasperated soulful and blues tone, “Gimme All Your Love.” Stretching and holding on to the note of the word “love,” simultaneously as the rest of the music matches Howard’s momentum, and once again a fuller sound provided by keyboards. The lyrics then switch to, “Gimme all you got,” and repetition of this climatic part, due to keys, vocals, and guitar, pull the whole song together barely a minute into the song.
The song may reflect the frustration of love and a lover. The conversation being said and what is screaming inside. The chorus and breaks are the reflection of what is wanted, needed, and felt, delivered by the band and felt intently through Howard. The song begins to fall once more and goes back to more questions, “so tell me what you wanna do,” displaying the calmer side of love. More pleas to sit and talk, then the rise to a heart-clenching chorus.
By the 2nd minute, the song slows down and transitions tempo to a funkier and soul driven instrumental break until the 3rd minute, and Howard chimes in proclamation “Gimme All Your Love.” The track will mimic many tempo switches, but the transitions are smooth. By the end of the track, it comes back to how it started, and if this song were to be played on repeat, there would be no distinguishing feature of the songs beginning or end. Once again, playing with this reflection of a love cycle.
One thing noticeable on this track, is its containment of a heavier influence of keys, possibly due to the band’s recent inclusion of an additional keyboardist. Alabama Shakes are known for their soulful and funk-rock aspects, rooted from their upbringing, as the creation towards amazing music, along with the incredible vocal ability and style of Howard. In regards to that fact, every track ever delivered never sounds generic, yet still is crafted in their style, which is a notable feature for an artist. “Gimme All Your Love,” once again stays true to their own measure, and surpasses another bar for the band. Drenched in emotion and truly touches your soul, the creation of this track is a product of life’s sincerity; the magic of Alabama Shakes.