Mia Borders, Good Side of Bad (Blaxican)

Since Mia Borders is well-steeped in classic soul, you might say that her latest disc (either a short album or a long EP at 24 minutes) is her version of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.The first song disposes of an ex-partner—not the first album of hers to begin this way—but the remaining five are all about the physical and emotional thrills of a fresh relationship.

The rejuvenation extends to the music, accenting the swagger that’s been in her delivery all along. The love songs have appropriately slinky grooves (“Dangerous to Know” gets a supple bassline from Jesse Morrow), the funkier tunes get a kick from her wah-wah guitar, and her vocals are persuasive throughout (taking another hint from Gaye, she overdubs herself into a chorus on “Voodoo,” something I wish she’d try more often). Love and sex may be the oldest topics in the world, but she comes up with a few new things to say about them: The breakup song “Poison Love” includes a kiss-off line (“Time will tell if I wish you well, but we ain’t there”) that pretty much ends the argument. “Thirsty” opens with an equally sharp come-on: “First time I saw you babe, like a tall drink of water on a hot-ass day.” “Goddamn (Strong Black Man)” sings her love’s praises to a chorus that sounds like a goddamn hit single. And “Last Night” says everything about afterglow that can be said in a PG-rated lyric. The tune’s sensual feel makes it a perfect soundtrack if you’re ever in that frame of mind yourself.