0103: “(Ain’t That) Good News” by Sam Cooke

Ain’t That Good News is the album that “(Ain’t That) Good News” (sometimes called just “Good News”) opens with and while the title and the song conveys happiness, the album was unfortunately bookended by death—it was the first album that Cooke produced after his toddler son drowned, and it was the last studio album Cooke would ever produce as he would be shot and killed almost exactly 9 months after its release. Cooke was gifted with a voice that could convey happiness and energy without trying; he’s the male equivalent of Aretha, blending gospel and soul in such a seamless way into a new form of R&B. It makes sense that even after the death of his son his music was still bright and soulful and revolved around lyrics dealing with hopeful and happy relationships with people: his public persona knew no other alternative with how to deal with it. “(Ain’t That) Good News” is a love song about a guy who gets a letter from his woman who left him, telling him that she’s coming back and that she should have never left and he is the only one she wants to be with forever. Cooke’s voice and a horn section makes this song so joyful, exuberant, and just such a… a fucking beautiful little pop song. It’s delightful, it’s happy, it’s Sam Cooke in full control of his powers and what a wonderful thing that was.

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