Donell Jones: Lyrics

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Posted December 21, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

While handling most of the technical work, Donell Jones looses enthusiasm and vantage on sore love soundtrack

On “The World Is Yours,” the opening track to Donell Jones’ newest studio LP Lyrics, he calls the latest experience “the rebirth of hip-hop and R&B.” His mother whispers a positive word of encouragement in his ear on “Your Place”: “I know it’s been hard for you in this business, but you can’t give up…do your mama a favor, get us some of that Chicago-styled R&B that I brought you up on.” Rather than detouring towards the homegrown Brunswick label for some Chi-Lites or pulling out some classic Sam Cooke, he frolics towards affectless gibberish and leftover sonics from R Kelly’s stable. Within the first lines of the song, he sings that “R&B ain’t been the same since I left it;” once again reminding listeners of his four-year hiatus since his last album on LaFace. Two songs in and the album sounds like a public display of unnecessary ego-stroking; hurting Jones’s chance to make a strong impression. Even when he jumps on Trey Songz court with “All About the Sex” and “Stripclub,” he seems a bit off focus – possibly trying to be all things to all people. Hurting the album’s direction is how the selected tracks seem to never compliment the best features of the singer. Jones handles most of the album’s work on his own, from songwriting to production, which may explain why the production languishes in its attempts to grab listeners into its adult contemporary R&B mystique. With some extra support, things would have been much different – and better. Only “The Finer Things In Life,” a Mike City contribution, and “Love Like This” comfortably returns Jones back to the smooth soul of his ‘90’s output. Unfortunately, Lyrics is a far cry from his hit cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet.” Even though Jones’ fans will welcome Jones back with open arms, they won’t be calling it a rebirth of R&B.

J MATTHEW COBB

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HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 28 September 2010
  • Label: E1/Candyman
  • Producers: Donell Jones, Mike City
  • Track Favs: Love Like This, The Finer Things in Life

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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