Chances are Minneapolis-based group Mint Condition was the soundtrack for a lot of us coming into the world. Twenty-one years later (and one member lighter) the group manages to remain a fixture in an ever-changing music scene.
Since releasing their 1991 debut album Meant To be Mint, which produced the classic “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” the group has created music that has stood the test of time. Instead of adapting the trends and shifts of music these days, Mint Condition has walked the tightrope, incorporating certain musical elements including hip-hop and rock, and infusing them within their style of soul, thus creating their latest effort, Music At The Speed of Life.
For the album, Mint Condition hooks up with legendary DJ/Producer Jazzy Jeff, Prince’s former saxophonist Eric Leeds, and MC Brother Ali to create an album that centers around the concepts of relationships, triumphs and life in general. Despite being more of an adult project, the album will connect and resonate with many.
In “Believe In Us,” Mint Condition has created a song reminiscent of their past work. With great lyrics and nice production, they lay out a song that expresses belief in love and forging a path to forever. That essence of mature love is later recreated with songs like “Completely” and the guitar-infused “What I Gotta Do.”
Following suit is the album highlight “Blessed.” Despite the vocals, which in parts sound a little talky–a monologue with a melody–the sonics of the production create the perfect backdrop for the content of the track, which speaks about the only thing that really matters even in our fast-paced culture – love. “So easy for me to forget how I keep it all together, keep it all together/ There’s so much going on in the world, I just gotta remember, I just gotta remember/ So blessed, yeah, to have you right here by my side. Next to me when life cuts like a knife.”
With Music At The Speed Of Life, Mint Condition has managed to create an album that will resonate with many and showcase why they have been able to remain relevant after all these years. They have a consistent and instantly recognizable sound marked by Stokley’s vocals, and big instrumentation. Yet, they deviate from their signature sound when called for, infusing new genres and elements, creating the type of album that only a mature and seasoned group could.