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Soul Express CD of the Month - October 2010


Lust, Love & Lies (An Audio Novel)

US Concord Music Group CD, 2010
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1) Glad I Met You Tonight 2) Feelin' Alright 3) Lust At First Sight 4) Get To Know You 5) Tell Me 6) Consensual 7) Safe In His Arms 8) Put Yo Momma On The Phone 9) Fly Higher 10) Saturday 11) Guess Who's Back 12) Shades 13) Extra! Extra! 14) Libido Interuptus 15) Do You Know 16) You Do U 17) At This Moment 18) I Got You Back 19) Coulda Been/Shoulda Been 20) Déjà Vu "Glad I Met You Tonight"

It may be surprising to note that Will Downing has been more successful than ever before during his Peak/Concorde period in 2007-2010. His first Peak album After Tonight was Will's first number one album on Billboard R&B charts, the 2009 album Classique reached number 3 position on R&B charts but was at position 22 on The Billboard top 200 pop album charts, which was his highest position ever on pop charts. This new album Lust, Love & Lies reached number 11 slot on R&B charts and position 32 on pop charts.

The latest set is slightly different from Will's previous albums, since the albums creates "an audio novel", and the idea is to link the different songs on the album to the others with a "soap opera" type of story, and 8 out of 20 tracks on the album are dialogues, depicting a typical love story from the initial encounter to dating and falling in love, and then some betrayal, break up and end of the affair. The first time one listens to the story with some interest, but frankly after a couple of plays one starts to skip the dialogues and only listens to the actual songs.

Compared to Will's early albums, I think he is now much weaker with uptempo cuts, and the "party songs" on this CD (like Feelin' Alright) are really far from the brilliance of his 80s and 90s club classics. However, when it comes to classy ballads, this albums offer two tracks that I rate among Will's all-time best performances.

First, Fly Higher was already featured on the compilation album United We Cure, and the Gary Taylor-co-penned tune is delivered in a gorgeous jazz guitar -laced backdrop - I wish Will would always sing over this kind of musical setting.

As a composition even better is, though, the track titled Tell Me, which is at the time of writing this review spending the second week on number 1 position of our own weekly soul chart Quality Time. The song has the same kind of classic feel as the most memorable sweet soul tunes in the 70s. Certainly nothing wrong with the other ballads either. At This Moment might be a highlight of a more mediocre album.

- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

Soul Express Video Pick from YouTube

Will Downing: Tell Me

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