Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Album Review: Anthony Hamilton: Back to Love

Anthony Hamilton
Back to Love

Without a doubt Anthony Hamilton is one of the best male vocalists to come to prominence in the new millennium. He is the benchmark for what a voice can do. And here he disappoints. He's always best when he's giving emotionally charged wails. But most of this album is low key. He never gets to that crescendo. And why would he? Almost everything I hear about the guy is that he's great, but he's exhausting. He's exhausting for a reason. He normally puts the audience through the emotional ringer.

But here it sounds like he's holding back.

Don't get me wrong the songs here are good, great even but it's just disappointing and frustrating to know the guy has the vocal range to push them further.

Beyond that it's almost as if I'm listening to two albums. The first is somewhat mellow, but around "Sucka for Love" (Track 9) it almost starts to reach the emotional crescendo I was talking about.

As usual Hamilton borrows a lot from 60's and 70's R&B. At some point I heard Stevie Wonder-like harmonicas. But it never sounds as though he's imitating them. It's a natural thing for him. An interesting thought experiment is to have Hamilton duet with the late Marvin Gaye. I'm betting if you threw the original cats in a room with this guy they would all start talking shop and trading music notes. You know what? I hope someone does joint interviews with him, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson just to see how they all interact with one another. That would be made of win.

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