We're back to a 2012 Grammy nominated artist this time around, Charlie Wilson. A well known know, but perhaps, at least to me, not well known enough music. This is his fifth studio album. It produced two singles, "You Are" (a #1 on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart), and "Life of the Party."
Focusing on "You Are," this was the track that garnered two Grammy nominations: Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song (seriously, what's the difference?). The album itself was also nominated in 2010 for Best R&B Album. So out of all of the albums that come out in a single year, this one has stood out amongst the best five or six.
"My Girl Is A Dime" kicks things off. I think I've been listening to folk and electronic for a while, because this sounds so completely out of place in my head. There's a smooth sound, even in the auto-tuned words. I'm really trying to figure out if I just heard the words "dime bag" in there... I'm going to assume no. Maybe. I mean, don't get me wrong - I get the concept of the song: bragging on a girl. But once you think you hear that, you sort of sit and listen for it again.
The Grammy nominated hit, "You Are" is next, and it really is a very sweet song. Think first 98 degrees album sweet - this is what the Motown crooners were like. There's some oddities to the singing itself, which I blame on unnecessary effects added. If you can manage to ignore that (I can't), the song is just this incredibly nice, nearly sexy, ballad of devotion.
I need a witty set of works to replace the "rhythm & blues" in "R&B" to something relating to sex and love. That's all the albums are about, without going much deeper. Ah damn, that was probably the wrong thing to say. So, "Never Got Enough" is wanted the girl back this time. Sounds like we dropped some of the auto-tune this time, thank goodness, and Charlie's backed by this cool synth line throughout, almost edging on 70's style. I really dig this one actually! It's a decent dance beat mix, with a pretty sweet subject matter. Ah damn, I think I'm getting sucked in... I blame "True Blood' for that word choice.
Okay, I'll admit, I underestimated the message. "Once and Forever" as engagement/wedding tones throughout, definitely making it more than just about the physical aspect. This one's got true, good love to it. If I liked it more, I would probably consider it for a wedding list, but the one I'm compiling right now (for my best friend, mind you) just doesn't call for a smooth R&B song. This could work for other people though - a really romantic notion to play at your reception!
"Life Of The Party" starts off asking for sex - but after they have a fabulous evening out on the town. While it's not a partying song as we're used to hearing in the clubs, it's got a really nice smooth beat that's sure to keep people moving throughout. It's kind of trying to be more modern than it should, but doesn't push it too far. The parts where the beat gets too regular in lines sung are few and far between, leaving us pretty okay to enjoy the melodies given by a shockingly relaxing vocal line throughout.
I would swear this is a completely different sounding Charlie for "I Can't Let Go." He's almost rapping a little bit. His range even sounds lower to me on this one for some reason. He must really, really want this girl in his life to take it to this different place. The beat's steady and we're just along for the ride as he begs a little bit. At least it's not whiny.
"Crying For You" is apparently what he's going once stalker Charlie has backed off from the last song. It's weird, I feel like he sounds more and more like R. Kelly as this album goes on. I don't know if it's the style used or the content of the songs, but that's where my frame of reference is taking me. Wait, wait, wait - there was a line there for just a second: "I'm sleeping with your shoes." And now, I'm officially creeped out.
We're closing in on the end here. "Where Would I Be" is a thankful song, I think. I mean, it seems like he's happy with who he is now, and is appreciative of his baby for getting him there. Personally, it's always been the negative guys in my past who have changed me somehow and I guess would be the subject of "thanks." The good ones accept you for who you are - and they damn well should. Don't forget that!
"Lotto" is the last song, and we have officially crossed the threshold into mainstream hip hop. How did we manage to get to this? We started in a very classic sounding R&B album, and have switched pitches and tones by the end. Was that the point here? Was this actually a concept album on the evolution of a genre?
Added to My Playlist:
- "Never Got Enough"
I've noticed that my final song paragraph has been tending to wrap up my thoughts on an album a bit. I guess if you want a summary of my thoughts, you could probably look there first. Otherwise, just know that I'm happy we're done and I can go to bed.