Release Date: 02.06.03
Record label: Interscope Records
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
Make That a Baker's Dozen
by: nick evans
Well, the world has finally found what it has been looking for. Yet another new neo-soul artist. In this decade alone, we have been bombarded with neo-soul crooners such as Jaheim, Tank, Koffee Brown, Maxwell, Eric Benet, Kem, Dwele, Avant, Musiq, Joe… just to name… almost a DOZEN. And now, Capitol records has made the music world a more original place with the release of Javier’s self titled debut.
It seems that the debut from this young, aspiring artist is targeting the older audience, as it has a more intimate feel found in Alicia Keys and Maxwell records. A pleasant surprise I found on the disc was the occasional use of guitar and piano. But throughout the album, it never really reaches past the level of ultimate blandness. Almost every song is a mid-tempo soul groove that could have been written for anyone’s debut. The first single, “Crazy”, is probably the strongest track before the song dissolves into… yawn… The last song, the redeeming “October Sky”, attempts to be a classic ballad, but never becomes one until the fantastic trumpet and piano solos toward the end of the song. Everything in between really isn’t worth checking out more than twice.
His voice is smooth and classy. But the problem is, so is everyone else’s in this industry. Think of him as a Babyface impersonator, or a less nasal Raphael Saadiq. Yet the “vocal gymnastics” he relies on, like everyone else, gets irritating after a while.
The main problem with this album is that it could have been anyone’s album. There’s not too much here separating it from the rest of the pack. Sure, he can sing, but that’s why he’s got the record deal. And while the whole coffee-house atmosphere provides more intimacy, it’s all been done before. But it isn’t the kind of album that is going to rely on critical acclaim to get where it needs to go. So if the classier side of modern neo-soul music interests you, I’d advise you to pick it up. Otherwise, you’ll be alright with any other album from the soul section of your local music store. 22-Feb-2003 11:19 PM