I’ve written up some short reviews for you of some of the latest albums to drop that I think should get attention and that you want to hear about. I then highlight 2 songs which aren’t necessarily singles but that I think standout on the respective albums. In this edition, we highlight the men of R&B who have current projects — Kenny Lattimore’s new album “Timeless”, Eric Benet’s “Love & Life” and Ne-Yo’s “Year of the Gentleman”. Enjoy, and leave feedback and thoughts as well…
Album Grade: B
Kenny Lattimore is back on his solo grind after the duets albums he has been turning in as of late with his wife the beautiful Chante’ Moore. One thing can be said for Kenny Lattimore — he is one of the more solid vocalists as of late that doesn’t get enough shine. Kenny’s latest album is a collection of covers of some great classic songs.
With his powerful yet controlled vocals, he delivers a strong, emotionally connective set. While at times you’d wish the production was a bit more energetic, the album is consistent through and through. Check out two of my favorites — his cover of the classic Norman Connors song “You Are My Starship” and one of my favorite Jeff Buckley songs “Everybody Here Wants You”. “You Are My Starship” is his single, and please note how his voice is just stunning and a picture of musical almost-perfection. Kenny is killing it with how he is subtlety nailing all those notes and changes. Much better than Chante’s solo release that came out earlier this year.
More reviews and tracks from Eric Benet & Ne-Yo after the jump…
Album Grade: B-
Eric Benet is back again with another well written R&B set which shows off his vocal chops and knack for a catchy lyric about love and/or this crazy life. Overall, vocally he’s on point as usual. The single “You’re The Only One” shows that Eric hasn’t lost his touch (his last album “Hurricane” was majorly slept on as well). While the first half of the CD is laden with back to back goodness, the 2nd half of the album falls short of the first. But nonetheless, the excellent cut “Chocolate Legs” is a favorite, making sex sound so religious with it’s organ and gospel-tinged vocals & harmonies. “Everlove” puts Eric with oft-forgotten Terry Dexter, and we all know that duets is where Eric also shines at, especially with female singers.
Album Grade: B
We all know Ne-Yo loves him Michael Jackson and Prince, and this album is no different in highlighting his “inspirations”. I’ve chosen the song “Nobody” which is very MJ meets Pharrell/Neptunes meets Shalamar. I love this joint though, and normally I’m not a Ne-Yo fan. I’v also chosen “Fade Into The Background” with it’s Prince-like production and vocal arrangements. Ne-Yo is definitely not doing anything NEW, but he does ape styles pretty well. Overall, the album is alright. For someone who is a writer first and singer second, some of the lyrics I find questionable. And after a while, Ne-Yo’s voice just becomes grating. However, I think on it’s face this album is a bit more cohesive from start to finish than “Because Of You” was. Ne-Yo’s propensity for strong melodies and hooks propels this album along very quickly despite his lack of vocal color and variety.