Donell Jones – Lyrics | Album Review by Tolu Akisanya
Read at Soul Culture
Hearing that the prince of R&B, Donell Jones had released a new album, conjured up an array of emotions, that ranged from thrilled to nostalgia… and may have even created an impromptu sing-song session of his past hits; you can’t help but be taken back to classics such as ‘In The Hood’ ‘Where I Wanna Be’ and ‘You Know What’s Up’.
When listening to Donell Jones’ new album Lyrics, one of the first things you hear, is the self-titled statement of being the “rebirth of Hip Hop & R&B” …now, on listening to entire album this maybe a far cry from the truth.
Lyrics is Donell’s sixth studio album, which he wrote and produced mostly by himself, and is consistent with his previous albums; romantic and sexual circumstances and situations coupled with smooth vocals, XXX melodies and soft beats.
Some of the tracks on the album may have sat well during the turn of the millennium (late nineties to early ’00s), however 10 to 15 years later his sound is all too familiar, and dare I say it, a little dated – and may struggle to compete against the likes of Trey Songz, Chris Brown and the younger talent producing music for today’s market.
For his loyal fan base, the album gives you a sample of his musical greatness and a taste of how R&B used to be, back in its golden ages. One of my instant favourites, ‘All About Sex’, is reminiscent of the Donell we know and love, and is actually a romantic ballad, no just about sex, but admiration to the one who is mentally and physically in-tune with you, even re-hashing up the word ‘tenderoni’.
Tracks ‘What’s Next’ and ‘Can You Burn’, goes a little too far with ‘trying to keep up with the times’, sounding more like home-made European dance mixes, inspired by ’80s pop. Very different from what we are used to hearing from Donell Jones – obviously taking influence from the influx of R&B stars dipping their musical toes in to the ‘dance’ genre to expand their audience. These tracks remain ‘unclassified’ with my emotions.
Although I was a little disappointed with this album, a part of me will never always remember the great music he brought us and what he did for R&B - and hopeful he’ll bring that to us once again.