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DJBooth Album Review
If you think I’m exaggerating, you’ve clearly never truly listened to Anthony Hamilton. That man was born to sing soul music. His voice has that beautifully worn quality all great soul singers possess. In fact, the first time I heard Can’t Let Go, I knew Hamilton would have been a star musician if he was born in 1910, 1950 or 1971. True talent transcends time, it’s the real meaning of “classic.” If I’m going overboard with my praise it’s only because Hamilton’s been tragically overlooked by the general populace, despite dropping the occasional hook for Young Jeezy or making a cameo appearance in American Gangster. That’s why while his sixth studio album, The Point Of It All, may not be his absolute best work, it’s so damn good I’m determined to get everyone I know to listen to it. What can I say? It’s my job to promote good music and bury the wack s**t. It’s what I was born to do.
Hamilton seems to be immune to the plaque of ringtone-centric R&B that’s gripped America, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make his way onto the airwaves. The Point Of It All’s lead single is the distinctly Southern Cool, a track that combines a hip-hop beat and a folk guitar line while Hamilton sings about love in an economic recession. It’s easily the album’s most upbeat track, and an eminently enjoyable one, though David Banner’s goofy guest verse just doesn’t work with the song’s overall mood. In fact, I’m putting it on my list of Most Regrettable Guest Raps In An Otherwise Dope R&B Song. (See Rich Boy on Mario’s Kryptonite for another example). Luckily Cool’s not the album’s only faster-paced track. Fallin’ In Love hums along on the strength of a powerful percussion line and a dynamic hook, while Praying For You sets the dynamic energy of a gospel revival against a more modern sonic backdrop. Tracks like these aren’t what make Hamilton a musical force, but they do show he’s got more songs in him than slowly burning soul tracks.
Speaking of which: Hamilton can make you dance on occasion, but his undeniable strength is, as my grandmother used to say, is breaking it the f**k down. Take for example the 70’s style smoothness of Please Stay, a gripping plea for forgiveness from Hamilton’s woman. If you listen to Please Stay with your eyes closed you can actually see the dance floor packed with slow dancing couples as Hamilton stands center stage, gripping the mic like it’s his woman. Even better is Soul’s On Fire, a track that easily belongs among the best Hamilton’s ever done. A gut-wrenching chorus is nothing new for Hamilton, but Soul’s On Fire takes it to another level, adding what feels like an orchestra’s worth of horns to the chorus to give the track an epic feel. Let’s be real. There are a lot of great singers out there, and only a handful of them could touch Hamilton on this song. It’s not hard to make better music than Ray J, but when you’re out-singing John Legend, that’s impressive.
There will undoubtedly be some criticism levied at The Point Of It All for its obsession with love. Hey, no one’s against a little romance, but you’ve got to sing about something else every so often, right? That’s a fair charge, and one Hamilton partly answers on the album’s opening track, The News. News is where Hamilton’s constant comparison’s to Marvin Gaye ring truest, a track where he pays homage to all the lives claimed by poverty and violence. News gives the album a backdrop, but fans are still waiting for Hamilton to address his heart and the world’s problems in equal measure (like Gaye’s classic-to-end-all-classics What’s Going On). Still, if the point of it all is to make you fall in love with music, and it is, then pick up Anthony Hamilton’s latest work and listen to a man do what he was born to do.
DJBooth Rating - 4.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Jan 06, 2009
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