Album Review

Album Review: How I do by Res

todayJuly 28, 2023 84 6 4

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By Nayeli Esquilin

Music Journalist

Twenty-two years after its initial release, Res’ debut album, How I Do, has found itself listed within neo-soul essential and other musicians’ playlists dedicated to their fellow musical influences. But how did this one fall through the cracks?  The eclectic sounds of alternative R&B, neo-soul, indie pop, rock, and hip-hop within this album knock it out of the park when it comes to an artist’s first album.

How I Do was initially released on June 26, 2001. Res’ vocals are the perfect blend of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Solange, but her passion is in a league of its own. You get to hear (and feel) the different facets of Res’ vocal range as well as her musical talents.

This album discusses themes of soul-searching, the effects of misogyny on young women, the “appeal” of conformity, navigating womanhood, romantic relationships, and friendship. A few of my top tracks from this album are “They-Say Vision”, “Let Love”, “700 Mile Situation” and “Golden Boys”.

Each song has a unique flow for each message within the melodies that tie the record together.

Hands down my favorite song off this album is “They-Say Vision”, a dreamy, introspective rock track. The song references the cult classic 1999 sci-fi film, “The Matrix,” in the first few lines, as Res describes subconsciously wanting to conform to what is palatable as a musical artist. Res’ powerful vocals wash over your ears like waves throughout the song, and you are engulfed in her own sensitivity.

“Let Love” is my second top track. The song is a carefree neo-soul track with an energetic baseline, great backing vocals, and light synths that sound similar to Japanese Sanshin. With lyrics that resemble prayer, Res prays for the relationship, hoping it will last. She contradicts herself by asking for a higher power to show her how to navigate her relationship with the bridge lyric, “Lord won’t you grant me new eyes so I can see. I want to live to live and take my chances”. She wants to stay devoted to her partner but doesn’t want to look naïve if things don’t work out.

My third pick of this album is “700 Mile Situation”. This song is a slow reggae track with smooth-melodic guitar riffs and percussion cross-rhythms, that are reminiscent of Erika Badu, that detail a long-distance relationship. Res’ chorus in this song is almost seductive with a hint of desperation. She expresses how much she longs for her partner and how it’s affecting her daily life, singing, “How many times can I say that I miss you? And everyone wants to know what’s wrong, it’s just the 700-mile situation”.

Finally, “Golden Boys”, which is the first track on the album. This is a classic neo-soul track fueled with synths, heavy hints of bass drums, and Res’ silky vocals. This track is an interesting look at how men are admired for their talents in the public eye and how people glorify their lives. Res asks these men, “Would they love you if they knew all the things we know?” and states that she and other women don’t need the illusion of their lives and that they know the truth behind their façade. In the era of social media, it’s easy for young people to fall into the dream life influencers and celebrities set up through their content. Now this reminds listeners that even the “leading man” from the media leads completely different lives once the cameras are off.

Since How I Do was released, Res has made a few projects that are difficult to find and stream, due to record company policies. Fortunately, she is currently working on a 20th-anniversary re-recording of this project with a few extras from another project that was previously unreleased. With a solid track list of 11 unique songs, this album is the perfect balance for any mood you may be in when you listen to it, which I highly advise you to do so.


Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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