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Sorry to break it to you, Maxwell fans…

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Maxwell’s long awaited new album, BLACKsummers’ night, is all but stellar. Let me explain. It’s not that Maxwell, the genius known for creating sweepingly enchanting songs, hasn’t created “good” music on this album. Rest assured he has. But in an industry void of competition, the only person to hold him up against, is himself. And unfortunately, this album pales.

For some reason, Maxwell has decided to stray from the formula that has made him a contemporary musical institution. I suppose an eight year hiatus allowed him time to experiment, and possibly grow creatively, which I’m all for. But if you stray, make sure the new you is awesome. Especially if the old you is damn near perfect. BLACKsummers’ night is more of a funky, groovy, approach, which is different from the usual jazzy, seductive sound he has mastered. This was a major disappointment, mainly because romance no longer exists in mainstream music. No such thing. There is an abundance of “I’ll bone your brains out” songs, but very few, if any, “Let’s make love songs.” And the few that exist, are generally performed by terrible singers, who aren’t even old enough to drink.

There are no “Ascension.” No “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever.” No “This Woman’s Work,” or “Till the Cops Come Knockin’.” To be frank, if you like the single “Pretty Wings,” which, by the way, is one of the best break-up songs I’ve heard in a while, then buy the single. It’s the only song like it on the album. And probably the only song you’ll like on the album. I felt like I had been duped. But like I said, there is still good music here. It just doesn’t sound like Maxwell. And after ten years, dammit, I want Maxwell, not some tangentially harmonic, psuedo-funk Frisbee.

The irony of all this is that though the album is mediocre (in Maxwell land) his concert tickets are probably still worth buying. Two at a time.

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