Usher has left the King of R&B throne vacant for three years now, and there’s been no shortage of young singers rushing to take his spot. Resident DTP crooner Bobby V puts in his bid for royalty on his new release Special Occasion, an album full of mid-tempo jams and occasional club rockers. Bobby V’s voice is good, his lyrics are enjoyable, and the production is top shelf. All that adds up to an album that’s worth the money, but isn’t quite King material. Ladies and gentleman, may I present Bobby V, the Duke of …
DJBooth Album Review
Bobby (as he refers to himself) claims every song on Special Occasion corresponds to…well, a special occasion, but a close breakdown reveals something closer to just four. Let’s review:
Occasion 1 – We’re in the club and you look hot
Anonymous, the lead single off the album, is exactly what you’d expect from a Timbaland produced joint; deeply layered samples, unstoppably complex rhythms, and catchy as hell. Timbaland makes it almost impossible for a singer to sound bad (I’m lookin at you JT) and Bobby delivers, though he doesn’t do anything Omarion couldn’t. Bobby catches the eye of that anonymous hottie on Checkin’ For Me, a percussively driven track with a thick drum line and a simple melody that’s almost guaranteed to be a single.
Occasion 2 – Hey, we should have sex
The man just landed at the airport and he needs his woman to pick him up now, he Can’t Wait ‘til Later. The song is sexually charged without ever getting truly dirty and showcases Bobby’s real skill; crafting simple but memorable melodies. Back from the airport he lays his woman down on Over and Over, a true slow jam that has Bobby softly singing, “I’m good to the last drop, I’m like Folgers.” Ok, so lyrically he’s not exactly Shakespeare, or even 112, but he gets the job done.
Occasion 3 – You should leave you man and get with me
Super-producer Rodney Jerkins (a.k.a. Darkchild) lays down some expert production on If I Had My Way which interweaves shining guitar lines around a muted drum track. Bobby’s voice isn’t strong enough to throw down Mariah Carey style, and to his credit he doesn’t overextend himself, just hits the note and holds it. Let Him Go has Bobby and Fabolous trying lure a lady away from her man, but the two just don’t connect. The result is a forgettable track that sounds flat, and Fab’s monotone verse certainly doesn’t help.
Occasion 4- Baby, I’m so sorry I hurt you
Bobby convinced her to leave her man and then he messed it all up. On Rearview Ridin' Ludacris shows up (I think we all saw it comin) to drop a tight verse over an innovative synth beat that could only be another Timbaland creation. It’s here that Bobby’s shortcomings are the most evident; he just can’t bring the same type of heartfelt regret Usher showed on Confessions. In contrast Turn the Page is a piano ballad that still brings some heat, and it’s the best on the album. Bobby absolutely nails the vocals and proves that given some time to mature, he can be a force to be reckoned with.
Special Occasion doesn’t reinvent the R&B game, and it doesn’t have to. Bobby V combines an old-school Jodeci vibe with new school production that’s perfectly enjoyable. In the end he’s like a slice of birthday cake; he may not be a four-star delicacy, but who’s gonna hate on some cake? I might just go back for seconds.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 05/14/07
Blue Kolla Dreams
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"Let's Go" (2006)
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