Tag Archives: Aretha Now

The Power of Aretha Franklin’s Think

20 Aug

Aretha Franklin Aretha Now

Aretha Franklin

When my daughter Leni was born, like all new babies–in between sleeping, breastfeeding, quiet awake time, and diaper changes–she cried. As a new parent, you do that thing where you try to figure out why they are crying. Is she hungry? Is she tired? Is she gassy? Is she…? But most of all, especially when you are running on little sleep, and you are stressed because you know you don’t know, you just want your baby to stop crying.

No longer married now, my husband at that time, Tim, had bought for me, the 1968 Aretha Franklin cd, Aretha Now. If my memory is correct, he got it for me because it was classic soul, and as a fine artist and furniture-maker,  he believed the history, the context, and the classic, best examples of an art form, were highly important. That they gave us the foundation necessary for appreciating and understanding a work of art. I have mostly always listened to more mainstream popular r & b, soul, funk, and hip-hop. The Aretha Now cd, if I’m not mistaken, was to both upgrade my listening ear, and I even think it was intended for Leni, to from the very beginning of her new life, know what real, best-of-the-best music is. Some babies got Baby Mozart cd’s. Our baby, Leni, got the Queen Mother Of Soul.

On one of those crying moments in the cramped living room of our one-bedroom apartment in New York City, tripping over Leni’s Boppy pillow, I put Aretha Now into the cd player and pressed play. I picked up Leni from her floor seat, and held her close. I rubbed her back to try and get her to calm down. Aretha’s Think came on.

Leni stopped crying instantly. She let her body loosen. Her gaze became alert.

She knew. She knew Aretha’s voice commanded her attention. That all would be all right. That she was in the presence of something beyond explanation. She didn’t need to cry any more. And it was like one of those funny baby videos that you watch and they show the baby crying until the parent makes some kind of funny face, and then the baby immediately stops crying, but just as quickly starts crying again when the parent stops making the face, and then calms again with the face making, and so on. Leni, if she wasn’t fully calmed down, would cry as soon as Think was over, and so we simply played it again. And again. On numerous crying occasions.

And as I danced around the room with my Leni, who is eighteen now and about to leave home for her first year of college, there was nothing to trip over. My dazed, sleepless state, erased, I  floated, elevated by joy.

Rest easy, Queen Mother Of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Thank you for the extraordinary gift you bestowed upon all of us on this entire planet.







Photo credit: Rhino.com