Musiq Soulchild - Aijuswanaseing

Musiq Soulchild - Aijuswanaseing

Editorial Review
Has neo-soul been around long enough to already have throwbacks The ostentatiously named Musiq Soulchild seems to think so. The vibe on his debut album, Aijuswanaseing, feels an awful lot like the one D'Angelo first got folks all hot and sweaty with (way back in 1995, with the now-classic Brown Sugar). Musiq even liberally borrows from "Brown Sugar" on "L Is Gone," when he croons, "Skin caramel complexion/Lips chocolate brown" (D's version says "Skin is caramel with those cocoa eyes"). The 23-year-old newcomer is smart enough to have a couple of his musical predecessor's partners in his crew, like producer James Poyser and bassist Pino Palladino. They get some nice, laid-back grooves going on the sassy opening track, "Girl Next Door," and on "Speechless" with its sly, funky Stevie Wonder-style bounce. Despite their best intentions, however, the Philly native never manages to generate any real heat. He has a perfectly adequate croon (part Stevie, part Eric Benet, and of course, part D'Angelo), but it's his lack of lyrical prowess that does him in. Tossing off verbal gems such as "So I could be like Michael Jackson and enjoy myself / Cause what I want to do is make a tuna melt" and "Your body's banging like a 400SE" with complete sincerity, Musiq lets his ulterior motives show, which sabotages the sensitive-ladies'-man image he's obviously trying to cultivate. He leaves us hoping that he'll let someone else write the words for him next time. --Sylvia W. Chan
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