While We All Have a Plan is an exercise in fatherhood music (John Hughes has a two-year old daughter), it is also Hughes's attempt "to make something that was rootsy, filled with universal concepts and primitive sounds. Sounds that on their own would catch even my daughter’s ear. A futuristic and forward-thinking record that captured the traditional spirit from snippets of old music." Except that the album contains no samples.
The collaborative voices and jazz tones you hear throughout the record belong to soul, jazz, funk and Afro-Beat music's forgotten heroes. Legendary Motor City funk-jazz cats Phil Ranelin and Wendell Harrison illuminate the laid-back funk collage of "God Bless This Mess, This Test We Pass" and its reprise "Straight Mess," and add lift to the downbeat jazz of "Village Plate Dub." Vocalist Khadijah Anwar, once a 14 year-old soul wunderkind for mid-'70s funkateers Sugar Hill, shines on the Zapp-like electro-funk of "Knock Me Down Girl" and re-imagines Herbert's micro-house on the title cut, while Detroit MC's Phat Kat and Elzhi (of Slum Village fame) add a future urban element to the proceedings. Singer Lindsay Anderson (L’Altra, Telefon Tel Aviv) gives “A Strong Donkey” a sultry jazzed-out bliss, while guest vocalist/trumpeter James Cromwell grumbles alongside her mellifluous delivery. Also appearing on the title song, and throughout the Plan, is Dan Boadi, a Ghanaian vocalist residing in Chicago, who Hughes estimates affected the album as much as anyone.
Spiritual X-factors all-too rarely affect the soul and creation of computer music. Yet these are undeniably the guiding forces behind Slicker's We All Have a Plan. So natural and soul-kissed, you'd think they were part of Hughes's plan all along.