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GERALD LEVERT: Ė Love & Consequences
US EastWest, 1998

1) No Sense (featuring Lazy Bone & Ken Dawg) 2) Thinkin' 'bout It 3) Point the Finger (featuring Sean Levert) 4) Breaking My Heart 5) That's the Way I Feel about You (featuring Mary J. Blige) 6) It's Your Turn 7) No I'm Not the Blame 8) No Man's Land 9) Men Like Us 10) Taking Everything 11) What about Me 12) Definition of a Man 13) Humble Me (featuring Lemicah Levert)

If you were expecting a sequel to the full-blooded Philly soul of Groove On, Gerald's previous solo set from 1994, youíre going to be severely disappointed with Love & Consequences, because this is an album on which Gerald unashamedly flirts with contemporary R&B. Thus, a closer point of comparison for this set is last yearís LSG album, which many soul fans, including I, found only partially satisfying.

† There are three tracks which may come as something of a shock to old Levert fans. On the album opener No Sense, the guest rappers are given so much room that the whole track would feel more at home on a Bone Thugs record. No Manís Land must be the worst track Gerald has ever recorded: imagine a Timbaland-produced version of Blackstreetís No Diggity and add to it the talk-box croak of a certain Mr Troutman and what you get is a totally crap track. The closing track is another bummer, featuring as it does Lemicah Levertís vocal delivery which may be excellent for a five-year-old, but which simply should not be included here.

† The cover of Bobby Womackís Thatís the Way I Feel about Cha is quite faithful to the original, but I have to confess that Mary J. Bligeís screeching made me feel nostalgic for the days when Gerald sang duets with professional female vocalists (for example, Miki Howard or Cindy Mizelle). The R. Kelly contribution Men Like Us is a standardized ballad plodder, the kind of which we've heard a few too many during the last couple of years.

† In my opinion the best cuts are the two ballads of a more traditional nature, What about Me and Definition of a Man; the latter is also the deepest composition on the album. The other three cuts that I found quite rewarding were the two street-flavoured beat ballads, the single pick Thinkin' bout It and the intense slow burner Itís Your Turn, and the relaxed mid-tempo Breaking My Heart, which borrows a vocal hook from EWF.

† In some of his recent interviews, Gerald has claimed that this may be his last album as a solo artist, but judging by the commercial success of this set, I'm sure he's going to think twice about it. I just hope we get a chance to hear him in a more soulful setting next time. (Rating: 7/10) -KH

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