Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Eric Benét - Love & Life

If you have followed this gentleman's career as closely I have, then you may well see this CD as his very best. “Love And Life” is the first album under Eric's creative control, and he has returned to his roots and to the genius of Demonte Posey and George Nash, Jr whom we know and love for their previous work with Eric (check out the Jonas album too which George has worked on!). The album sets the highest of standards IMMEDIATELY. The opening song, “Love Patience Time”- blessed with in abundance on this album – is simply breathtaking. I'm sure the mainstream R&B media will bemoan the fact that this isn't a Hip Hop album BUT it's to his immense credit that Eric delivers a set or REAL timeless songs. This is classy, summery and feel-good. The hook is catchy and the fluid drum beat and punchy 80s styled horns really are strong. Track two, “The Hunger” belts out with real authority; the clapping beats, harmonies and strings are great, and with this CD, it's fair to say that Mr. Benét has well and truly become stronger since his recent personal upheavals. Applause for that – what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and the result is very audible here! If these tunes aren't already winning you over I know you will be floored by the beautiful “You're The Only One” which is a nod towards the Philly sounds of Thom Bell and Will Hart...simply sublime!Add to the mix the heavier, addictive, jam of “Don't Let Go” and we're really smokin' now! The sensual “Chocolate Legs” is a gentle, subdued jam dedicated to the sweet and warm charms of a woman wrapping herself around him. Very tastefully executed. If you love brassy, piano-filled 80s styled jams them the rollicking “Weekend Girl” is going to impress! This isn't a cover of the SOS Band hit – but a wonderful new composition very much in Eric's unique style. Talking of the 80s I almost DIED with pleasure when I heard “Iminluvwichoo”. MY GOD! This is a soulful dancer straight out of 1983 – 1985, and I LOVE IT! Fans of recent Soulchoonz stars such as Confection, Skalp, Swade etc will immediately love this tune!!! Staggering though this is, please listen to the Afro-Cuban Funk of “Spanish Fly” which adds real kick – and all on a MAJOR label too! Great, isn't it?! I had no idea they had it in them any more! The autobiographical “Still I Believe” is a thumping electronic jam, his chorus sequenced electronically to enhance his straining emotions as he testifies that he still believes in love. “Sing to Me” is very acoustic...lyrically very strong and should be a HUGE hit if spun on national radio. A real treasure of a song closes the album – a song dedicated to his 16 year old daughter, India. “One More Tomorrow” is beautifully touching and if you adore Stevie Wonder's last album then this style is very much akin to the classy ballads on there. I rate this as Eric's best album ever, and definitely his most consistent. We need to give this a standing ovation. Beautiful.

Barry Towler