When news broke that Akon would be covering Shuggie Otis’ classic tune “Strawberry Letter 23” (later popularized by The Brothers Johnson), for an upcoming Quincy Jones tribute album, I called for Quincy and Akon’s head on a stick.
After listening to the finished product, I still want their heads on a stick.
The only thing that’s wrong with this modernized version of the song is the person singing it. Akon’s soulless, autotuned voice has absolutely no business singing a song like this.
It’s been turned into a slick robotic pop song that the kids may like for a few months, but they’ll never really understand the brilliance of the song itself because of the way it’s presented.
I weep for the future.
Here’s Shuggie Otis’ original version of “Strawberry Letter 23” from 1972.
Here’s The Brothers’ Johnson’s 1977 version, produced by Quincy Jones.