This Song is for You
Initially, it may feel weird listening to 72-year-old Ron Isley sing about his plans to kiss certain body parts on the song Bed Time. But the veteran R&B singer keeps his lustful words to a minimum for much of his new album, This Song is for You.
He sings in a discreet manner on enjoyable tracks such as Dinner and a Movie, the Bryan-Michael Cox-produced Let's Be Alone and the easy listening My Favorite Thing, which features R&B singer Kem. Isley is a smooth character on most of his second solo album, and his voice sounds better than ever.
Isley, lead singer of the R&B powerhouse group The Isley Brothers, co-wrote some of the trio's past hits, and he uses those songs on his new album: Another Night is a rewrite of their 1983 song Between the Sheets and Make Love to Your Soul borrows from Voyage to Atlantis.
This Song is for You does have some missteps, including the slow-tempo Lay You Down, an unsatisfying duet with Trey Songz. But the album mainly shows that Isley hasn't lost much of a step as a longtime crooner.
Jonathan Landrum (AP)
Despite his cool flow and strong songs, Wale is in danger of being known mostly as Rick Ross' foil, something more than a hype man but less than a full partner to the CEO/MC.
The Gifted then, with its occasional self-reflections, gospel swell, and caramel vintage-soul arrangements, is Wale's shot at separating himself from Ross' strip-club-hop.
Certainly, there are club-pop bangers such as Clappers and Rotation, Wale's most contagious stoner soliloquy yet. Bad is a handsome cross of rap and slick soul. But the more mature Wale (the one pulling away from Ross) comes with singsong spiels, churchy backgrounds, and the plush, organic strings and keys of 1970s R&B.
Wale does a nice job with Stevie Wonder's vibe on Sunshine while Simple Man and Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece) feel richly antique. Lyrically, though, he is awkward.
His unlikely duet with Jerry Seinfeld on Black Heroes/ Outro About Nothing sums up Gifted nicely: at times stately, but more often shallow and naive.
A.D. Amorosi (McClatchy-Tribune)
Deep, deeper, deepest: Daughn Gibson’s baritone rumbles low, way down in Waylon Jennings-Sleepy LaBeef territory.
The former Philadelphian has a resume suited to a country-noir experimentalist tough guy.
He used to man the counter in an adult bookstore, work as a long-haul trucker, and play drums in the heavy-rock band Pearls & Brass, back when he went by his given name, Josh Martin.
Me Moan is his second solo album. This Daughn “jawn” (Philadelphia slang for “thing”) builds on the Portishead-goes-hillbilly-baroque, one-man-band approach of his 2012 debut All Hell by fleshing out the sinister sound with bagpipes, among other intriguing touches, and the aid of musicians such as Baroness guitarist John Baizley.
Sometimes Gibson’s stylised, stentorian delivery gets lugubrious (see All My Days Off).
But he has a way with a melody and an alternately jaundiced and bemused eye for the seedy underbelly of this sordid existence, and Me Moan is a grower. Dan DeLuca (McClatchy-Tribune)