Keb Mo – That’s Not Love

“That’s not love ’cause you don’t feel good inside.
I don’t know what it is…but that’s not love”

Keb Mo is a rarity in the modern music industry. He has never had a pop hit and makes excellent albums on a consistant basis full of  great songwrting balanced by masterful musicianship.  Each album has come out on a major label (Epic) and that has continued through today, even with the dropping of many more ‘pop’ or commercial artists from the major label rosters.  So how does he continue to thrive as a high profile artist?  If his career was taking place 30 or 40 years ago, I would say it was the norm, but he defies convention in this way.

Released in the summer of 1996, Keb Mo’s second release, ‘Just Like You’, was greeted by solid reviews and another dose of what I call ‘Blues Pop’.  That is rootsy musical sounds being layed atop contemporary musical structures.  Noone does this better than Keb Mo, and most of his criminally overlooked songs could have made this list…but ‘Thats Not Love” presents a new yet familiar concept into the popular music arena.  By taking the feelings one has during a relationship and exposing them for what they are…not love, something else.  Maybe attachment, resentment, jealousy, etc.  Keb Mo boils this down to an essence and makes it palatable for a pop audience. 

“You can’t measure your love
By the depths of your pain”

But he takes this emotion deeper with a great production filled with a fingerpicked dobro, harmonica and snapping drum beats.  Like many Keb Mo albums, it was produced by the legendary John Porter and it does what music should…connect the listener to the writer and singer all in one 3 minute exchange.  

(This version linked is for the even better live version from his “Sessions” DVD)

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