Chico DeBarge: Addiction

Posted September 16, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

chicodebarge00Confessional/transparent record reveals gumbo of musical ideas, poetry and easy listening

Ever since Chico DeBarge emerged from the shadows of music obscurity in the 1990s, contributing his slick sexy contemporary R&B to the bubbling neo-soul genre, he consistently had an urge to be transparent with his listeners about his toughest temptations. As the familiar scripture goes, “To whom much is given, much is required.” The music dynasty of DeBarge, blessed with heavenly musical treasures, already has one of the most interesting, mostly troublesome sagas in music history. But their musical blessings still became a challenge against their inner demons. Chico’s story is no different. He may be the baby of the first generation of DeBarge brothers and the last to grab a hold of Motown’s anointed hem before the label was nailed to the cross, but Chico’s story comes with its share of darkness and public shortfalls. That’s probably what makes Addiction, his major-distributed release since 1999’s Free, so alluring. His stories, whether they be based on true events or not, are tasty enough for the hungry-for-drama carnivores. With his mocha-coated lyrics comes a brilliant mix of creamy neo-soul and vintage soul akin to ‘70s Marvin Gaye. Those familiar with his lounge-like intimate R&B style will dig right into “Oh No!” (which uses a sneaky, rhythmic sample of Al Green’s “So Glad You’re Mine”) and the laid back vibes of “I’m OK.” The latter, gliding with jazzy synths and a repenting vocal from DeBarge, breathes hope into one of the album’s memorable lines: “I need you to love/Not judge me/Or even speak bad of me/Remind me/That I need to pray.” He reunites with longtime collaborator and label mate Joe briefly on ‘Tell Ur Man.” Another irresistible nostalgic moment surrounds “I Forgot Ur Name;” a funky jam that slices Luther Vandross’s “Never Too Much” down the middle and neatly sown back with a sweet melody attached to an innocent lyric about a man’s worst nightmare of forgetting his lover’s name. Each song paints a picture of trouble while offering hope for life’s redemption. And with the enclosed instrumental “Medication (Interlude)” tucked into the set, you’re bound to see Addiction as a modern experiment of Marvin Gaye’s sexy LP I Want You mixed with the anguish of Gaye’s confessional epic Here, My Dear. By far one of the better records containing a brilliant mix of blues, contemporary jazz and R&B beats in recent years.



  • Release Date: 9 Nov 2009
  • Label: Kedar Entertainment
  • Producers: Kedar Massenburg, Joe Thomas, Chico DeBarge
  • Track Favs: Oh No, I’m OK, Tell Ur Man, I Forgot Your Name

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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