Rejuvenation (1974)

The Meters

IllustratorL Stevie Lacher

One of the most iconic funk records of all time, The Meters “Rejuvenation” is widely considered an important benchmark in the evolution of American music. Produced by Allen Toussaint, it paved the way for major R&B, rock, and hip-hop records, and is the poster child of New Orleans funk.

One of The Meters many strengths is their ability to start a song. It may sound silly but opening the album with the isolated guitar riff on “People Say” is nothing short of genius. It allows plenty of room for the groove to build, and its sparsity suggests shit’s going down. This suggestion is accepted the moment the chorus roars in. I challenge anyone to listen to the opening track and not be on their feet shouting “People Say” by the first chorus.

A similar song-opening technique is used in “Just Kissed My Baby,” a tune with lyrics boasting about a funky smooch. The groove is light, bouncy and steeped in soul, sung with such poise it puts you in the shoes of a smitten dude on a sunny day.

While some tracks on the album are lighthearted and carefree, “It Ain’t No Use” is more grandiose, harmonically rich and complete with the backing vocals of a gospel choir. The eight-minute instrumental breakdown in the middle starts low and develops to an epic climax, allowing drum legend Zigaboo Modeliste to flex.

If you’re in a good mood, or looking to get in one, put this record on. Its combination of silliness and genuine, dirty funk is infinitely groovy, and it is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time.