Musiq Soulchild’s soulful voice has been quiet for three years, and in that time he’s left Def Soul (to sign with Atlantic Records,) dropped and then reclaimed the Soulchild portion of his name, and in the process done some serious growing up. Luvanmusiq, his newest release, is the record of a man becoming a man, both personally and musically. Musiq has replaced songs about nice clothes, partying, and crushes with introspective takes on love and relationships. He has said that “the aim of this album is to introduce myself,” and with his first single B.U.D.D.Y. …
DJBooth Album Review
Musically the album is simple and elegant, with most songs built around piano, guitar, and drum lines. Such minimal production and a reliance on musicianship makes Luvandmusiq the kind of album that sounds as if it were recorded live. The first song on the album, Teachme, is a perfect example. The track starts off with a cascading piano line, emphasized with bursts of guitar and a steady hi-hat drum beat, and this formula remains steady throughout. The effect is to create the kind of hypnotizing song perfect for relaxing or traffic-jam sing alongs, unfortunately Teachme is one of only a handful of tracks [on the album] that strike such an effective balance between chill and completely forgettable.
Luvadmusiq’s more serious tone is both a blessing and a curse; the album is well crafted and intelligent, but on occasion is so subdued that songs can fade into background music. Thequestions is Musiq’s attempt at a solo-piano ballad, but although the lyrics are thoughful and honest, it ultimately fails to make a true connection (listen to John Legend’s Ordinary People to see how it’s done). Today falls into a similar trap; a great love song should make you stop everything and intensely listen to every note, Today might actually put you to sleep.
When Musiq stops trying to make legendary R&B and instead simply writes the type of songs that get the entire crowd dancing, Luvanmusiq takes on an entirely different life. Betterman starts out with a funk-infused bass line, a driving drumbeat, and a looping vocal harmony that forces your body to start moving. Makeyouhappy is punctuated with horn sections and a clap track that’s made for losing yourself in the music. It’s moments like these that reveal what Musiq is capable of, soul-infused party jams that can also touch an emotional nerve.
If Musiq’s sole intention for this album was to remind us he’s alive, mission accomplished. Luvanmusiq has several solid tracks, and a couple excellent ones, but as a whole it falls just short of excellent. In short, this is the type of album that iPods were invented for; download your favorite tracks, get down, and rest assured that you don’t have to buy the entire album. It’s certainly good to have Musiq Soulchild back in the game, but he’ll have to put something more than just Luvanmusiq into his songs if he wants to stake his place among his R&B heroes Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 03/26/07
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