Who is Lloyd? That’s depends, which Lloyd are we talking about? If your introduction to the silky slim singer was on his breakthrough album Southside you would have thought Lloyd was a bit of a r&b bad boy, the type of guy who appears on album covers with his shirt off. But if the first time Lloyd’s sky-high register touched your ear drums was off his second album’s irresistible hit Get It Shawty, you’d think Lloyd was more the smooth-playa type, a guy constantly sliding up to fine females in the club to sing sweet …
DJBooth Album Review
And if the only thing you ever heard from Lloyd was his latest album, the seductive Lessons In Love, you’d think he’s the kind of man who loves women, making love to women and singing about making love to women. In other words, Lessons in Love showcases a new and improved –and hornier – Lloyd. Now he may be all grown up, but his fans are still largely teenage girls, which puts him in an awkward situation. In an interview with our own DJ Z, he revealed the original name of the album was Sex Education, until he realized parents wouldn’t be happy about their kids buying anything with “sex” in the title. In a way that story is the perfect anecdote for the album as a whole; Lessons in Love is just daring enough to be interesting, but too safe to be truly extraordinary.
Every major hit in Lloyd’s career came from tracks somewhere between between puppy love and setting the bed on fire, and Lessons in Love spends a lot of time trying to strike that balance. It’s no surprise then that Lloyd chose the sparkling Girls All Around the World as the lead single, a track that takes the ultra-classic Paid In Full and modernizes it, complete with bouncing percussion and a Weezy verse that doubles as a Rakim tribute. (On a side note, Lloyd may be the only artist who can claim they’ve had a Lil Wayne track on every album.) Lose Your Love follows a similar script, marrying a dance-friendly beat with Lloyd’s pitch-perfect voice, which takes on an young Michael Jackson quality. Around the World and Lose Your Love aren’t quite addictive enough to become mega-hits, a la Get It Shawty, but they’re more than enough to move Lessons in Love off store shelves.
If there’s anything to be learned from Lessons in Love it’s that we should all buy stock in Trojan, because if Lloyd’s having sex nearly as much as he’s singing about it, the condom industry’s in for a profitable year. We’ll start with the rumored next single Year of the Lover, a track that ventures into lyrical territory reminiscent of R. Kelly’s In the Kitchen, with Lloyd singing: “I’m a put you up on the stove, take off all your clothes, girl watch me cook until you get nice and tender.” Lloyd doesn’t take the sex-metaphors nearly as far as Mr. Kelly, but I think we can all agree that’s a good thing. Not satisfied with simply providing the soundtrack to your love-making, Lloyd’s also determined to teach you how to move in between the sheets. Which brings me to Sex Education, a joint that uses echoing guitars and rumbling bass lines to set the stage for Lloyd to hit every sultry note; Lloyd’s accuracy is so precise he’s like a vocal sniper. Now highly selective about what music I get down to, but if it weren’t for the wack “I wanna make an A” chorus, Sex Education just might make the bedroom cut. Class doesn’t end there, just a few tracks later he’s back to offer some Love Makin 101 (a class that’s a prerequisite for AP Doin’ It). Love Makin 101 is by far the hottest song on the album, complete with an orgasmicly screaming guitar solo and Lloyd at his most R-rated. It’s almost enough to make Usher proud.
Even at his steamiest Lloyd maintains the angelic persona that truly separates his from his r&b peers (Omarion could snort lines of Prozac and he still wouldn’t be half as happy). Ironically it’s Lloyd’s irrepressible positivity that stops Lessons in Love from becoming a true musical love-making manual, but it’s also what keep his fans coming back for more. So who is Lloyd now? On this album he’s the kind of nice guy you’d want your daughter to date, until she came home pregnant. So hide your daughters, Lloyd’s in town, and he’s bringing some Lessons In Love with him.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 08/6/08
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"You ft. Lil' Wayne" (2006)
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