This is always dangerous, but I’m going to assume you’re like me. Ok, so you might not love aged whiskey as much as I do, or spend hours breaking down R. Kelly lyrics like they’re the Da Vinci Code like I do, but it’s a safe bet that when you heard the name Sammie your first thought was, “You mean that dude from Kiss Me Through the Phone?” That was my first thought, and if you’re like me, that’s not a particularly positive association. Whatever respect for Kiss Me I had was gone after the …
DJBooth Album Review
I know life-long Sammie fans are screaming at me in disgust right now, and I can’t blame them. He’s hardly new, having dropped his debut album in 2000 at the tender age of 13 and his sophomore effort, the self-titled Sammie, three years ago, but considering that he named his new EP It’s Time, I feel justified saying that even Sammie thinks he’s been overlooked (I’m guessing he means “it’s time” as in “it’s time I became a star”). So now, after a decade in the game, is Sammie finally poised to become a household name in his own right? The answer is a resounding maybe.
We really need to start with Wake Up, the single that shattered my shallow assumptions of Sammie and his musical capabilities. An echoing, subtly pounding track produced by Troy Taylor, who, with some assistance, produced every track on the EP, Wake Up is the kind of classic r&b I was surprised to hear Sammie’s name attached to. More than anything, Wake Up is a testament to the young man’s undeniably impressive vocal abilities. Unfalteringly smooth and equally capable of hitting soulfully deep notes and falsetto high notes, Sammie’s voice is the kind of instrument careers are built on (just ask Mario), and if he keeps making tracks like Wake Up his future looks bright. Actually, It’s Time contains several other tracks in the same ballpark as Wake Up, starting with the steamy Sexin in the Rain - you know Kells is kicking himself for not coming up with that title first – and finishing with Time Machine, a track that occasionally slips into power ballad cliché but should still at the very least capture the hearts of his female fans. Now I’m not saying Sammie is the second coming of D’Angelo, I’m just saying that anyone who listens to It’s Time with an open mind will discover a talented young man with some serious potential.
Of course, if Sammie wants to truly achieve stardom he’s going to have to do more than just pump out smooth r&b, he’s going to have to give radio something to work with, and it’s here that he struggles to deliver. It’s Time’s primary contribution to the clubs was obviously supposed to be Put It On My Tab, but on Tab Sammie gets swallowed by the booming beat, sadly dumbing down his vocals while resorting to some poor man’s Blame It lyrics: “girl you got a potty mouth…” Potty mouth? Really? By contrast the EP’s other blatant attempt at mainstream appeal It’s a Party works much better, giving Sammie an up-tempo but still laid back beat to work with, allowing him to swagger a bit without sounding forced. I went into this review (very mistakenly) assuming It’s Time would suffer from a surplus of forgettable club anthems and a shortage of quality r&b, but the opposite proved to be true, and while I’ll take a true baby maker over some watered down attempt at mass appeal any day, if Sammie wants to achieve the kind of success he’s undoubtedly seeking he’s going to have to do both, and he’s going to have to do it better than this.
So what have we learned? We’ve learned that despite its shortcoming, It’s Time is a damn good EP, we’ve learned that Sammie is a legit contender to the prince of young r&b crown, and most importantly, we’ve learned not to make assumptions. Sorry Sammie, I promise it won’t happen again.
DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 01/21/10
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