Raheem DeVaughn: A Place Called Loveland

Posted September 17, 2013 by in r&b



2/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , , ,
Genre: R&B, soul
Producer: Ryan Tedder, DeAndre Shaifer, Maurice "Modigga" Randolph, Kristal Oliver, Phil Daviss, R.C. Williams, Mario Winans, Christopher Barnes, Boney James
Label: Mass Appeal
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 53:34
Release Date: 3 September 2013
Spin This: "Love Connection, "Maker of Love"


DeVaughn sounds like a protege of Marvin Gaye and Prince. Voice in good form.


Absorbed in too much ballads; songs lack radio appeal

On singer’s first indie album, Love Land proves to be far away from Wonderland

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

On singer’s first indie album, Loveland proves to be far away from Wonderland

The hiatus between Raheem DeVaughn’s 2010 double-LP, Love and War Masterpeace and now is one that would raise a few eyebrows. Certainly his radio show has kept the “R&B hippie neo-soul rockstar” quite preoccupied, but his absence was starting to bear the equivalence of a Maxwell vacation, particularly when one studies DeVaughn’s need to record music. But one thing remains consistent: Mr. Devaughn’s infatuation for love (the word is listed in the last three albums). On his fourth album, DeVaughn keeps the “love” series alive. Sadly, it falls flat in living up to the hype one would expect from his musical magic. Almost nothing leaps off the disc like “Woman” or “You” or last album’s “Bulletproof.”  And without any uptempos on board, the album quickly slips into a slow traffic jam. Only “Love Connection,” the album’s opener, plays with DeVaughn’s familiar bob and weave. But it lacks the strong sing-a-long qualities of his more memorable tracks. Same can be applied to “Complicated,” a swaggered slow jam surrounded by sermonic undertones. While proving that love can be visceral, DeVaughn talks about a friendship flirting with the dangers of lust. “Our friendship is too good/It’ll damage it if we advance it,” he sings, as if he’s in the middle of a nasty tug of war. But the musicality of the song sounds like leftovers of DeVaughn, and at best feels like the psychological ramblings of Lyfe Jennings.  That seems to be the heartbreaking concern of the entire record, as if he’s content with putting out facsimiles of the new R&B without tossing in a little magnetism. You can smell the hint of desperation when he tosses a mimicked deep bass emcee reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” on “Greatest Love” and “Make Em Like You,” even if the voice feels like a bootlegged Barry White working his mojo in a cheap brothel. What makes Loveland a bit forgivable is that DeVaughn still croons with the tender falsetto likeness of Marvin Gaye and Prince. There’s still a hint of youth trapped inside those midnight love pleas. When he calls coos alongside Quiet Storm saxman Boney James on the rapturous closer, “Maker of Love,” there’s a bit of redemption there to overshadow some of the album’s underwhelming moments. Although the curriculum of Loveland stands in need of some major organization (even down to the overload of interludes and badly timed fades), DeVaughn is still in really good voice. He has proven before that he doesn’t need all the special musical guests and the lavish big budgets to make a great record, but it’s clear that his first indie record since leaving the plush comforts of Sony seems like one wasted opportunity, one that could have proved he’s just as worthy to stand on the same spotlight as John Legend.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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