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08/11/2011 Joe - The Good The Bad The Sexy Review 18/12/2008 Joe Thomas, New Man Review
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|Joe - The Good The Bad The Sexy Review|
|08-11-2011 09:24 | 0 comment(s)|
| It can't be fun being one of the most revered R&B artists of the '90s, because no one seems to care for that sound any more. It's even harder for a guy like Joe, though. As one of the few who's voice and work rate is still up to scratch, he's been forced into the underdog role (down to the alleged string pulling R. Kelly did at Jive). Since 2008, while Mr. Thomas has had a consistent and continued output, the exposure of his independent work has gone, largely, unnoticed. Nonetheless, the Georgian crooner presses on with "The Good, The Bad, The Sexy", to keep his loyal supporters happy.
Without any big-name producers taking the weight of the release into their hands, an early expectation of "The Good," is that it could suffer from outdatedness (just as purchasers of Donell Jones' most recent album are familiar with). Edging into the record an coming into contact with "Losing" (its promotional single) the premonition couldn't be more true. The drive of the song is left in the hands of the singer, as a generic backdrop eases him through. Joe's quickly-shifting key changes keep the song animated, but it falls far short of what he's capable of.
Glancing through the rest of the album and the recycled sound issue is a recurrent one. Joe settles for sub-standard production and it has a detrimental effect on the record. As much as he pushes for something catchy or with standout qualities, there's only so much he can get out of them. The results? "Circles", ironic in its theme and how little it's pushing boundaries, literally being a self-referential anthem for this, his ninth LP. Over the 11 songs, Joe makes no overt effort to clasp onto the diverse musical trends sprouting from R&B. Rather, his producers attempt to open gaps which don't quite exists – leaving him in ruts at each occasion.
Typically, listeners are subject to more of Joe's tender love songs. Often enough, he'll be found lamenting over unappreciative past lovers, to the delight of his longstanding male fan base. At times, it works, but it's often not worth waiting on. At the other end, his bedroom-orientated content remains as suggestive ever. The songs as subtly-written in their construction, but are often let down by trying too hard not to sound like his old work. "Drink Up", for instance, has no place on the release and simply lingers at the end of the tiresome album. These inconsistencies ruin the replay value of the release.
Again, Joe delivers with some songs – as his soul-warming vocals can never be overlooked – but rarely has the drive to deliver. This is mirrored through each song; leaving this as a rather unmemorable album. However, the hidden highlights are a satisfying treat to keep the listener engaged to the end. Without "Impossible" "Almost There" and "Dear Joe", the record would be a filler fest. The aforementioned tracks (particularly the latter) are the few occasions when he sounds as comfortable as his most successful years.
Given that his vocal abilities might overshadow literally the whole of his generation's contemporaries now, Joe can't back this up with a solid body of work. As strong as "Signature" was, it seems that it was his final puff worth listening out for. While he's clearly attempted to push his music forward (rather than recycling old ideas) the producers driving the project have done nothing but extenuate his peripheral role in the industry. There's no need to count him out yet, but this is far from his most notable work.
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