- 21 May 19
Smooth R&B Recovery After Priapic Misstep
That didn’t take long. It’s only been about six months since Anderson .Paak released Oxnard, although when you discover he recorded both albums at the same time, things start to make sense. If you liked 2016’s Malibu – 'Come Down' would have even hopelessly incurable danceflooraphobes up throwing shapes – but thought Oxnard a bit forced and coarse (the end of ‘Headlow’ seemed a bit unnecessary, Caligula would have blushed, etc.) then you'll be smiling here. This is a strong R&B record with a good dash of hip-hop thrown in as a mixer.
Just like the last time out, the guests arrive thick and fast. André 3000 takes over half way through the smooth soul horn and - yes! – flute driven groove of opener ‘Come Home’ with his usual tumbling syllable rap flow. Smokey Robinson turns up on ‘Make It Better’ which calls to mind the slower R&B style Robinson helped bring about with his 1975 album A Quiet Storm, and ‘Reachin’ 2 Much’ with Lalah Hathaway could have soundtracked a bit of rump shaking back in Studio 54.
Lyrically, he takes a dig at the 45th in ‘Winners Circle’ - “Dumb like the president”, ‘Good Heels’ has Paak’s bit on the side breaking into his apartment, and ‘King James’ is a nod to basketball star Lebron James who “we salute for using his change, to create some equal opportunities”
The best is saved for last as Paak duets with some unreleased vocals from the late Nate Dogg – “the hook master” who passed away in 2011 - on the infectious, feel-good ‘What Can We Do?’. Although he’s hardly blessed with the greatest singing voice of all time, Paak has fashioned a fine soul record with hints of Isaac Hayes, the odd Parliament-Funkadelic squelch, and 70s Philly strings. It makes the prospect of his next release a welcome one. It should be here in a couple of weeks.