Kem: Intimacy: Album III

Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

Romantic soul singer continues to give the people what they want, but more is to be expected by now

Using a subtle adult contemporary format crisscrossing from Maze/Frankie Beverly to Maxwell, Kem Owens has crafted his love for R&B romance over the course of his first two albums and has surmounted past most mellow Quiet Storm acts with his back-to-back string of radio singles (“Love Calls,” “Find Your Way (Back In My Life),” “I Can’t Stop Loving You”). On Intimacy: Album III, Kem digs deeper into his canvas of sweet seduction using mostly easy-listening sensual ballads; bearly an uptempo gem in place – except if you’re anxious to hear Kem getting his Bobbi McFerrin on with guest star Jill Scott preaching on the closer “Golden Days.”

“Intimacy” is the operative word for Kem’s latest voyage. He sets the mood on the teaser “When I’m Lovin’ You” (“Forever faithful girl/Like child hood friends/So soft and warm I hope it never ends and I’m thankful girl for all the joy you bring/Like we be making love up on the angels’ wings”). And ever round goes higher or in lovers’ terms, arousing. “Can You Feel It” is another teaser, lacking the finish for a memorable moment. But deeper into the set, listeners discover his opulent selections with “Share My Life,” “If It’s Love” (featuring Maurissa Rose) and the crowning ballad “Why Would You Stay.” The latter, now the latest to join the rankings of Kem’s radio thrills, stands out as his most-matured prose to date as he unveils his insecurities and failures to his sweetheart. He rambles in the beginning asking “why would you stay” and later finds Kem more invigorated and impassioned than ever to reclaim his lost lover. Sweetened with orchestra strings, decked out with stand-out acoustic piano and entranced by the final modulations, “Why Would You Stay” is grown folks’ R&B in the city limits of Kem but is open to a world of interpretation.

There isn’t much to pout about on Kem’s third outing, although some will be quick to point out that Kem is becoming a bit rusty in banishing much of his predictability. His albums, still satisfying to the ear, are now being translated as mere love voyages occasionally flirting with intricate musical arrangements. He may need to boast more uptempo fireworks or the ambitious and fearless snap of Maxwell to leaven his efforts beyond AC conventions. But on Intimacy, we didn’t expect Kem to go all left-field with his endeavors. The subject matter had to be soothing, sensual and romantic and he’s done a very good job in staying true to his topic of choice.





  • Release Date: 17 Aug 2010
  • Label: Motown Universal
  • Producers: Kem
  • Track Favs: Why Would You Stay, Share My Life, If It’s Love

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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