Album Review: Maxwell - 'BLACKsummers'night' - Celebrity Bug


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Album Review: Maxwell - 'BLACKsummers'night'

MaxwellFollowing an eight year hiatus, neo-soul crooner Maxwell seeks to bring musical quality and substance back with BLACKsummers'night, the first disc in his planned trilogy set.

A break, especially one of such an extensive length, is normally not considered an ideal situation for an artist to bounce back from, in fact, many artists who’ve tried to mount a comeback in the past, found themselves on the brink with less than stellar sales to show that fans longed for their return.

Fortunately, this has not been the case for Maxwell, who is currently on track to nabbed the covet spot atop the Billboard charts, in fact, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that his fans and lovers of real R&B are rejoicing that he decided to grace us with the presence of another album.

As with any Maxwell album, BLACKsummers'night is deeply rooted in delivering pure soul that tantalizes your body as he moves in and out of his falsetto voice, and lets his voice grace the track, instead of the other way around. A feature that can definitely be appreciated given the current state of the industry, where purely genuine and raw talent tends to take a back seat in the favor of booty shaking divas and dance enabled fellas.

“Bad Habits”, which is slated to be the second single, leads the set off by reintroducing us to his sultry falsetto as he enthralls us with his emotionally charged dissection of trying to break free of a lover, who has the ultimate control over him.

“Cold” delves into a unique funkiness, while “Pretty Wings”, which serves as the lead single, couldn’t get anymore stunning as he deals with the hurt of meeting the right woman at the wrong time. The singer says, “It’s about the last relationship I had, she was a serious muse and the song is a testament to what I wanted to say and say, to her.”

He urges you to “give a little bit more” on the encouraging “Help Somebody”, the upbeat “Love You” captures an influence and essence that would make Smokey Robinson proud, and he begs his lover to stop playing games on the rupturing “Playing Possum”.

“Stop The World” emerges on an instant classic as he immaculately details claiming the woman of his dreams and finds solace in the vein of his signature sound. The track is truly beautiful and further excels as he showers his lower register with a trace of his falsetto.

The engaging “Fistful of Tears”, sees the crooner reaching a level of depth and emotion that would make any of his peers look like amateurs. “Cause I go insane, crazy sometimes/ Trying to keep you from losing your mind/ Open your eyes, see what’s in front of your face/ Save me my fistful of tears,” he sings.

In conclusion, BLACKsummers’night reacquaints us with everything that originally made us fall in love with him (minus the hair), from his unique songwriting to his heavy hearted arrangements and vocals, they are all still fully in tact.

A key factor in helping the set excel is the instrumentation, which sees an a-list ensemble of elegantly sympathetic musicians backing him, in fact, it faces only one minor setback and that’s the fact that it contains a mere nine songs, and only eight discounting the vocal free “Phoenix Rise”.

Still, he vocalizes those with a stunning flare and realism that shows the bounds that he holds over his competitors.

4.5 out of 5

Celebrity Bug’s Key Tracks: “Bad Habits”, “Pretty Wings”, “Stop the World”, “Fistful of Tears” & “Playing Possum”

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