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I have been a fan of Brian McKnight for some years now and saw him Live at Hammersmith Apollo nearly six years ago now. He's comfortably one of my favourite R&B singers of All Time and has produced some memorable love ballads throughout the 90s and into the 00s and now 10s. His greatest work is featured on this Collection of his biggest hits. There are some very well known tunes here too which is a testament to his standing in the R&B world. So that's enough of an introduction. Here's what I think of the tracks that appear on this Greatest Hits collection.
1.) One Last Cry
This track gets things off to a Beautiful start. It opens with a lovely short string sequence that is soon joined by the lovely keys from McKnight. There's a fairly long musical intro which builds the scene then his emotive vocals come in. This is a really beautiful track about moving on from a relationship and having that one last cry before you move on with your life. It can be hard to get over someone you have loved but you need to know when the time is right to move on. Beautiful track which showcases the emotive quality of his voice.
2.) Show Me The Way Back To Your Heart
This is a beautiful cover of a Gloria Estefan song which McKnight recorded with Lisa Cochran & Kim Fleming who both provide excellent backing vocals. It's a track which really showcases his excellent vocals. The track is about committing yourself to someone and trying any way you can to show them that you want to be with them and nobody else and to give you one last chance to make things right. It has a great message about giving things one last chance.
3.) You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time) - Brian McKnight, Mase
This is the single which Mase appears on and is a catchy track which is talking to a girl to make their mind up whether they will be with you or are they just wasting your time. I'm sure many of you have felt this way about a particular relationship you have been in which doesnt seem to be going anywhere. It's one of the more uptempo tracks that Brian McKnight has done and makes for an interesting change compared to the slower ballads.
4.) Back At One
This is a great ballad about saying how much you love someone and to keep saying it so to never take it for granted. A great message which is done superbly well. "Say farewell to the dark of night I see the coming of the sun I feel like a little child, whose life has just begun You came and breathed new life into this lonely heart of mine You threw out the life line Just in the nick of time". It's one of his most profoundly emotive tracks and has a very strong standing in many R&B love song charts.
5.) Stay or Let It Go
This track is a really nice ballad which is produced by Rodney Jerkins. Although this track does not stand out as much as the other ballads which are much more well known it is still a nice track with a smooth feel that will appeal to lots of fans I am sure. His vocals are well performed and have a relaxed feel which works well throughout. It's not near his absolute best work but is certainly worth a listen.
6.) 6 Months, 8 Days, 12 Hours
This is one of my absolute favourite Brian McKnight songs. This is a great ballad about counting the days since your relationship ended and wondering if your ex is feeling the same way that you are. This is a beautiful song that is best summed up by these lyrics. "Every time the phone rings, Do you wish it was me calling you?, Do you still feel the same?, Or has time put out the flame? I miss you Is everything okay?" Musically it's excellent as the music really builds and sustains the emotion with it's simplicity.
This is a fantastic song which is one of my favourite tracks from Brian McKnight. I love the way that most of the song is really gentle and then the drums come in towards the end of the song and then his voice just sounds truly wonderful. It does sound a little dated but that doesn't take away for the heartfelt nature of the song and the performance.
8.) What's It Gonna Be
This has an early 90's feel which sounds like it could have appeared on one of his earlier albums, It is not quite up there with the best on Superhero but is still a great track which again showcases his sweet vocals. It's not as instantly appealing as some of the best tracks on the album but it has a nice feel that reminds me a little of Babyface. The vocals are excellent.
9.) Love Of My Life
This track is one of his absolute best, It has a fantastic mellow feel and showcases his amazing vocal ability especially that falsetto which just sounds amazing. This track is about what you would do for someone when they are the love of your life. This is Brian McKnight at his best. The punchy drum beat and the strings are a great touch too. A truly outstanding track which shows his immense talent.
10.) Back Seat (Gettin' Down)
This track opens with a punchy beat which is joined by McKnight's keyboard tones and a nice atmospheric background. His vocals sound brilliant even as the most laid back and gentle tones come through. A smooth track with a punchy beat. It has a nice mix between his most obvious ballads and his more uptempo numbers, This works really well.
11.) Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
This is a contemplative track about looking back on what you could and should have done in the past when a relationship goes wrong. This is a very common subject for a song but this works extremely well. The smooth backing vocals provide an intimacy that flows well with the overall feel of the track. It has a good message about doing the right things in a relationship before you lose them and it's too late.
12.) Where Do We Go From Here
This track is taken from the album U-Turn and the musical backing of this track is very much like the type you would find with a Gospel choir. This doesnt have a choir but it does have a fantastic feel, This track is about when there is no more love in a relationship. This is where he showcases the vocal talent he has which is sheer class especially as the song progresses.
13.) Been So Long
This is a catchy mid tempo track which has McKnight's mellow vocals blending well with a shuffling beat, This is one of the best tracks he has done in this way. A very catchy track which works really well. More up tempo than a lot of his work but well performed and polished all the same. Showing his versatility but not up there with his best.
14.) Come Back To Me
This is a really good track which has an old 70's soul feel courtesy of a Marvin Gaye like falsetto which is interestingly joined by up to date hip hop style beats and a very nice string background which adds a great touch to the overall feel. It's an excellent chilled track which works so well. A nice fusion of two different moods.
15.) Whatcha Gonna Do?
The thing I love about this hip hop track is that it is a truly great tester for a hi-fi and I like music that is recorded well. The punchy beat of the bass needs to be reproduced well as does the biting bass hook. If your hi-fi setup gets these things right then start toe tapping as this track comes in with THAT Bassline. This really shakes up the style as this is a full on stomper which is a fabulous sounding track. A great track to end with.
This is a fabulous collection of some of Brian McKnight's biggest hits up to 2008. It's packed with some of the most memorable R&B ballads from the 90s and early 00s mixed with more up tempo tracks. He has a voice that is one of my favourites in the male R&B field and having seen him live I am a big fan. This is a collection for anyone who likes their smooth ballads mixed in with up tempo R&B tracks. This is a collection of a very high standard.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 One Last Cry
2 Show Me The Way Back To Your Heart
3 You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time) - Brian McKnight, Mase
4 Back At One
5 Stay or Let It Go
6 6 Months, 8 Days, 12 Hours
8 What's It Gonna Be
9 Love Of My Life
10 Back Seat (Gettin' Down)
11 Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
12 Where Do We Go From Here
13 Been So Long
14 Come Back To Me
15 Whatcha Gonna Do? - Brian McKnight, Juvenile, Akon, Skip