R&B has been losing its soul for the past few years to amped-up collaborations with rappers and slower songs with so little lyrical depth that true romancers have had to look outside the genre.
There's been little music to make a listener weak-kneed and weepy-eyed at the tales of love gone good, bad or better, at least on the part of male crooners. Enter Atlanta singer Anthony David, who hits the right notes in his debut, 3 Chords & the Truth, due out Tuesday.
Mr. David, a Savannah native, takes the familiar formula of man in love, man out of love and all the heartbreak and high times in between and melds it into a product that takes the essence of old-school R&B and funks it up.
With a voice husky without being too grating, deep but capable of reaching higher ranges, Mr. David combines good storytelling with unconventional, guitar-based music to create a refreshing sound.
A mix of exotic chords with some smooth, fresh styles that resemble the blues one minute, hip-hop the next and gospel by the end, 3 Chords is a wonderful exploration of the limits of R&B.
From the upbeat Ga. Peach, the catchy first single that respectfully pays tribute to beautiful women across the state, to Yes, a ballad with both the words and the voice to make a lover weak-kneed, Mr. David delivers.
Mr. David obviously tried to make a disc that would appeal to the R&B listeners who love to head-bop to songs as much as they like to slow dance to them. For the most part he succeeded, but a couple of tracks like the police brutality-themed Krooked Kop, miss the mark. Although it is good to see an R&B artist take on more than just love, sex and loneliness, the song feels a bit forced and, in parts, contrived.
Likewise, the reggae-inspired 50/50 Love, with its fake island accents, don't display Mr. David's vocal or creative range as showcased on the album's other songs.
As a whole, 3 Chords has enough mellow grooves to inspire a slow jam or two and cause a few nostalgic smiles over how good love is.
It's doubtful Mr. David will outsell Usher with this album, but he definitely will win over some fans and change a few opinions of just what a male vocalist can accomplish.
Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The album: Anthony David, 3 Chords & the TruthThe verdict: HHH out of HHHHH