Once again, congratulations to Maxwell for winning Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song! Truly deserved after such a mighty comeback of being absent for the past 8 years.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on more: the Man, the Album or the Song… But I figured I can just cover the album today and pick one of the many songs I enjoyed off this great piece of work.
I bought the album after hearing rave reviews from everywhere, even a few friends here and there. I’ve been a fan of Maxwell’s previous songs, especially the songs “Lifetime”, “This Woman’s Work” and “Fortunate.” So I said, hey, why not? Apparently to the rest of the world, he’s making some awesome music. Boy, were they right! And Grammy seems to think the same thing too.
The album as a whole is totally listenable. That word is a major understatement as well as just a strange word. I usually judge albums by how many songs I skip on it, if any. Out of the 9 tracks, I can easily listen to the entire album without skipping any. I might skip one or two, but sometimes it’s just because I’m in a rush to get to the track immediately following.
A few of the tracks I gravitate to: Grammy Award winning and multi-nominated “Pretty Wings” (music video, which actually omits the soothing instrumentals at the end I was talking about, but the video is still beautiful nonetheless), “Help Somebody”, Grammy nominated “Love You”, and “Playing Possum.” The tracks in-between, or after, are also great… but these are the songs I sometimes specifically start with, have on repeat, or skip to.
Something else I love about this album, or the songs within, is the composition of many of the songs. After Maxwell is done singing, there are extensive outros. Meaning, there is just straight instruments for a good 15 seconds or more. Like an afterglow of music after the verses, choruses and adlibs are done. I’ve noticed this with Alicia Keys too.
The lyrics are top notch. Every song seems to have a different and specific story to tell… as all songs should. Makes you wonder what was going on with Maxwell at the time… or in the past 8 years. Whatever it was, it made for some awesome songwriting.
Let’s not forget Maxwell himself. What a voice! I think the only one comparable would be the Purple One, whom my mom thought it was at first. Perhaps the next closest contender would be Musiq Soulchild, whom I do like but I admit I haven’t really listened to him since his second album.
Lastly, I, along with millions of his fans, probably can’t wait for part 2 later this year. Assumingly titled blackSUMMERS’night. Oh yeah, this album is part 1 of a trilogy he’s releasing. This is rather exciting. I know it’s probably been done before, but this is the first time I’m aware of a musical trilogy. Movie trilogies are done all the time. But a master soul artist? Perhaps my mind is blanking out, but I already can’t wait for blacksummers’NIGHT. I’m also super curious what these album covers look like. And I almost wanna bet there will be a “boxed set” sometime after the third album is released, so the die hards have an ultimate Maxwell collection.
…Okay, I might be one of those people too. As long as each of the following albums are as good as this one, of course. And I don’t have any reason to doubt they won’t be so sign me up.