Lloyd is a wounded romantic - but on "Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)," the centerpiece of his fourth album, Lloyd's lament is more specific than most: "Why is this happening to me? . . . That pussy changed . . . I miss that pussy," he sobs. Raunch leavened by laughs is the formula for today's best ….
The sleazy-sweet “Lay It Down” hit airwaves during the end of summer 2010, almost ten months prior to the release of Lloyd’s fourth album, King of Hearts. The single’s luminous mix of cunningly delivered pimp talk and old-school elegance indicated that Lloyd was about to somersault out of his creative holding pattern and ascend higher than ever. Most of the successive leaks and singles continued the trend, and King of Hearts, in turn, is clearly the singer’s best album yet.
No contemporary R&B singers approximate the elusive stomach-butterfly rush of infatuation as consistently as Lloyd. "Lay It Down", King of Hearts' peak moment and a lead single that predates the record by nearly a year, is an exemplar: Its innocent, almost naïve earnestness is married to a preternatural sense for R&B vocal acrobatics, giving dimension and believability to his devotion. A distinctive talent, Lloyd often let his vocals dance around the periphery of a song, giving his best tracks a spacey, removed quality.
LLOYD plays the Molson Amphitheatre on Friday (August 19). See listing Rating: NNN Lloyd is one of contemporary R&B's gentler and more textured singers, something producer Polow da Don takes full advantage of on King Of Hearts, which treads a fine line between charming and cringe-worthy. Opening with Dedication To My Ex (Miss That) - a ridiculously cynical Motown song obviously following the profanely feel-good formula that worked for Cee Lo's Fuck You - the album recovers with a blend of skittery Southern beats and choruses that evoke the earnestness of 80s-era R&B (in tone more than content).
The title of Lloyd’s fourth album, King of Hearts, boldly announces Interscope’s intent to make R&B royalty of the long B-listed singer. His two biggest rivals, Trey Songz and Chris Brown, both passed Lloyd over in the pipeline to stardom, and they both do forgettable cameo work here, offering Lloyd a polite, if unenthusiastic, welcome to the V.I.P. section.
Although Lloyd’s five-year run with The Inc. initially served as a fitting platform for the street-R&B singer, there was always a sense that his potential reached far beyond what Irv Gotti and company were granting him. Now a cohort of major producer Polow Da Don’s growing Zone 4 camp, Lloyd has access to the tangible elements of music that can help him transition into a more polished artist.
“Snuck Out” (Sunnyside) Over the course of an unglamorous but productive career, the trumpeter-composer-arranger David Weiss has drawn sustenance from one source above all others: the postbop vanguard of the late 1960s and early ’70s, a music of elasticity and bravura. His approach typically suggests a hands-on sort of advocacy. He was the architect of a late-career boost for Freddie Hubbard, the postbop trumpet paragon, who died in 2008.