Regular readers of this column know that Nathan S. loves the ladies, so much so that he sometimes refers to himself in the third person. But if I have world-class game – and I do - I owe it to 112. In my early days the smooth-singing quartet was responsible for an admittedly high number of my hook ups. It was Peaches ‘N Cream that brought the honeys out on the dance floor, Cupid that got her close, and Anywhere that sealed the deal back at the crib. More than Blackstreet, more even than Jagged …
DJBooth Album Review
Sadly 112’s days as an R&B powerhouse have come to an end, as all good things must. But in some small way the dream lives on. Slim, the group’s charismatic leader with the Michael Jackson-esque voice, is keeping the legacy alive by signing his own label deal and releasing his debut solo album Love’s Crazy. Love’s Crazy is not only one of the most accurate album titles of the year (the only thing better would have been Women Are Crazy), it’s a collection of radio ready singles and bedroom burning jams that proves that while Slim’s days as a true superstar are no more, he’s got more than enough R&B firepower left to carry an album.
If Slim was going to regain a spot on the charts he had to connect with kids too young to remember 112, so while the strictest old-school fans may be disappointed by the occasional track on Love’s Crazy, I can’t hate on the man. It’s his willingness to connect with the younger crowd that’s made his breakthrough single So Fly a hit. So Fly doesn’t get complicated, it just takes a booming bass line, contrasts it with Slim’s impossibly smooth vocals and adds a predictable Yung Joc verse (who’s apparently so “G” he emails with “Gmail”). It’s not a classic, despite what Joc says, but it’s definitely a certified hit. Unfortunately not every inter-generational jam on Love’s Crazy works so well. When the first thing you hear on a track is an auto-tuned Yung Berg singing, it’s not a good sign – I actually threw up in my mouth a little bit – and Heels On doesn’t get much better from there. Luckily moments like these are few and far between on the album. Slim’s goal was to introduce his sparkling falsetto to a new generation: mission accomplished.
Impressively, Love’s Crazy has more than a couple tracks that should get some serious airplay without the help of an artist under 25. The title track Love’s Crazy has a pop vibe, bouncing over up-tempo percussion, plus an unexpected verse from Big Boi. Call me crazy, but am I the only one who thinks the chorus for Love’s Crazy sounds like the chorus for Anywhere? My musical hallucinations aside, Love’s Crazy is so crazy is just might work. On a similar tip is Good Lovin', a Ryan Leslie produced track that’s the best radio-ready song on the album, showcasing Slim’s classically smooth style over production so addictive Fab’s guest appearance feels completely unnecessary. The biggest knock on Slim is that his falsetto voice can be too much without other voices to balance him out, and that’s fair enough, but Good Lovin proves he can carry a track on his solo shoulders just fine.
Who am I kidding? I wasn’t excited about Love’s Crazy for the dance tracks, I wanted to hear some slow jams, and Slim didn’t let me down. Let’s start with U Got Me (Addicted), a burner of a track that has Slim sounding like a Confessions-era Usher, and that’s one hell of a compliment. Even steamier is Bedtime Stories, a slowly melodic track that should only be listened to with the lights off. What’s better, even at his most nostalgic Slim doesn’t rely too heavily on the past, instead injecting Stories with adventurous horn lines and some soul flavor. It’s not Anywhere, but it’s as close as we’ve gotten in a long time. Which brings me to my closing point. I know we all wish 112 was still pumping out hits, but Slim’s still here, and on Love’s Crazy he’s still doing the damn thing. Enjoy him while he lasts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find some peaches for my cream.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 11/20/08
M3/Anotha One Records
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