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I have been a big fan of Maxwell for a few years now and as I own all of his five albums It's fair to say that he's one of my favourite R&B artists. His first release was the 1996 album called Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite. There were eight years Between "Now" and his fourth album BLACKsummers'night when the album was released in 2009. With a new album expected some time later this year I thought it was time to review another of his albums and noticed that this one hadn't been reviewed yet on here so I gladly listened to my copy of the album again and here's the review.
The album was the third studio album release from Maxwell and was released on 14th August 2001 on Columbia Records. The album was very well received by critics like his other albums. Maxwell's last release before an eight-year hiatus, which culminated in the release of his fourth studio album BLACKsummers'night which was released in 2009. Maxwell was much more content about this album than the previous release "Embrya" which was the least successful of his albums both commercially and critically. Maxwell produced the album under the pseudonym of MUSZE.
This is only four seconds long and is a short intro which features the music from the actual opening track.
2.) Get to know ya
This is a catchy track which starts gently with some nice progression from the intro. As it gets into it's stride it's a funky slice of Neo Soul which showcases Maxwell's voice very well. The musical intro is fairly long and after around thirty five seconds gone he starts singing. He's backed well by the backing vocals which blend well with his lead vocal. This is a strong track which is one of the more up tempo tracks on the album. Good start.
This is one of my favourite tracks from Maxwell. It's a lovely ballad which really shows off his vocals to great effect. It's another fairly long intro but his vocals come in with a fine emotion which is expressive and relaxed. His vocal performance is rather commanding whilst sounding very natural and laid back. It's an absolutely brilliant track which really shows off his emotion dripping vocals and the lovely musical backing that this song rightly deserves. This is a really beautiful song. A fantastic track to recommend to someone who asks about Maxwell's music.
4.) W/As My Girl
This track features some soft beats and gentle guitar with smooth backing vocals. Maxwell again shines vocally here on this track which features some lovely seductive guitar moments and some fine vocals. There are some excellent production skills on hand here with a polished sound. The track is about confronting an ex after they cheated on you and walked away. I love the vocal delivery from Maxwell and his fine delivery is clearly evident here.
This is a catchy mid tempo ballad with some great falsetto from Maxwell. It has a similar sound to the previous track but has it's own style. It's maybe not as focused as some of the best songs on the album but it's still a very strong track which again showcases the fine vocal ability of Maxwell and the way he brings emotion to the song. good stuff.
This is a catchy mid tempo track which has some funky beats and hooks which combine well with his sweet falsetto to create a nice sound. This track is one of the more different tracks on the album and really works quite well for that and other reasons. It's chorus has a strong melody with the backing harmonies and music combining well. This is again one of the better up tempo tracks on the album which shows a different side to Maxwell.
7.) For Lovers Only
This is a beautifully understated track which has a simple drum beat and percussion and guitars with a superbly emotive falsetto from Maxwell. It's about when you are really in love with someone and is designed to be a song of lovers. This is one of the best tracks on the album as it really showcases his vocal beauty and the emotion of the subject matter is done so well and so convincingly. A really beautiful song that begs to be listened to with that someone special in your life.
8.) Temporary Night
This is another mid tempo track which has some excellent funky beats and hooks with electric guitar taking it away from the sound of much of the album. There are some excellent moments here both musically and vocally. It shows another side to Maxwell in that he can do more than the heartfelt ballads. One of the best up tempo tracks on the album no doubt.
This is a lovely song which really showcases his falsetto well. The musical backing of gentle beats and guitar works well. Maxwell shows off the range of his voice on this track to good effect. This is not one of his most well known tracks from the album but it's one of the best and towards the end he shows off a phenomenal falsetto part which tops off the song beautifully.
10.) Symptom Unknown
This tracks starts gently and has elements which remind me a little bit of experimental Pink Floyd. It's a lovely seductive track which builds slowly and then the wonderful vocals come in. This is one of the most emotive tracks on the album and given Maxwell's delivery and the music this is certainly one of the best tracks on the album too. It builds perfectly and his voice sounds superb. A fantastic example of how to build the emotion of a song. Superb.
11.) This Woman's Work
Every so often a song comes along that totally changes your opinion of a song and this was it. An absolutely extraordinary and beautiful version of a song by Kate Bush which I didn't care about at all. This is truly one of the greatest covers I have ever heard or more specifically, Perhaps the best cover version of a song I didn't like before, making an amazing song out of the original. The falsetto from Maxwell is quite superb and the emotion is incredible. This is one of my all time favourite versions of any song. An extraordinary effort which shows all facets of his voice to outstanding results. Just Beautiful.
12.) Now/At the Party
This is a catchy up tempo track to finish with and brings elements of the other mid to up tempo tracks on the album and also brings a funky feel to the table. It's a catchy track that's for sure and is one that ends the album well with a nice Jazz/Funk fusion. Good stuff which gets rockier towards the end.
This is without a doubt one of my favourite albums of all time. The best material on the album is just Outstanding and really showcases what a talent Maxwell is vocally and you can underestimate just what a great composer he is too. It's no accident that some of these songs have a heart wrenchingly emotive feel. His voice is at times extraordinary on this album and the best material really hits you. Now is an album that I recommend so highly to any of you reading this review. If you like your music to mean something and to hit you with emotion then this album is a must listen.
"Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 ""2 seconds of silence 3 seconds of """"Get To Know Ya""""""
2 Get To Know Ya
4 W/As My Girl
7 For Lovers Only
8 Temporary Nite
10 Symptom Unknown
11 This Woman's Work
12 Now/At The Party"