2010 marks the return of the singer/songwriter with the unmistakeable deep baritone voice, full of soul and nostalgia. In a class of his own amongst his soul singing peers, it’s Jaheim!
With his impressive first release Ghetto Love back in 2001, he conjured comparisons to greats like Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass. It’s this mature sound in a youthful package that makes Jaheim the old soul voice for the new generation, so his latest effort and fifth album Another Round is a welcome return. After a three year break since Makings of a Man in 2007, it seems Jaheim is continuing in the vein of the refined gentleman we began to see then, and it’s definitely working for him.
Another Round was released in the States on the 9th of February 2010 and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. The album opens with the lead single “Ain’t Leaving Without You,” a ‘70s/’80s funk influenced track that immediately has your head bobbing and groove going. Not surprising, as the song samples Fat Larry’s Band’s “Act Like You Know” and the hook from De La Soul’s “Ring Ring Ring.”
It all goes together to make a fantastic track that’s infectious. The remix, which features Jadakiss, closes the album and rounds the record off nicely. This is the only track that has a feature on it and I must say that it’s nice to hear an album being carried mainly by the artist, instead of 70% of the songs on the record having guest spots.
The second single and second track from the album is “Finding My Way Back.” It’s a nice follow up to “Ain’t Leaving” as it’s another easy listening, soulful number that lends nicely to the ‘grown man’ theme of the whole album. The story of a guy trying to find his way back to his woman’s heart holds the romantic maturity needed to fit in with the whole package.
“Woah” is another sincere love song that has a familiar and current sound to it. It’s got a gentle yet catchy melody that will be great for the radio come summer time. It’s one of those ones you want to be singing whilst in love on a sunny day. This love song theme continues throughout with varying tempos, meaning that this album is definitely one for the romantics at heart. “Impossible” takes us back to Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves A Woman”, allowing Jaheim to do what he does best – old school with a modern day twist.
The title track is rather unexpected amidst an album full of smooth & sultry beats, with little occurrence of synthesised sounds. Although it’s inoffensive, it’s nothing special, and something I might have expected from one of his earlier albums. Even the subject matter of the song doesn’t seem to fit in with the plethora of tender love songs we’ve been hearing up to this point.
As we get to the tail end of the album, the sound mellows out again and we are returned to soulful bliss. “II Pink Lines” is an interesting take on a ‘daddy song’, we get a sprinkling of pain and anguish with on “Otha Half” and just for good measure, some sexy and alluring lyrics on “Closer.”
The penultimate track, “In My Hands” is extremely Luther–esque, with Jaheim’s tone sounding almost like a reincarnation of the late Mr. Vandross. This is in no way a bad thing and the song really showcases why Jaheim is in a class of his own amongst the men of soul at the moment.
This affinity to dated crooners could perhaps be one of the reasons why he seemingly hasn’t achieved as much mainstream success as other modern soul singers like Anthony Hamilton or Raheem DeVaughn, however , I think Another Round is a great achievement for Jaheim. It flows well, is an easy listen and has that great balance of meaningful lyrics coupled with nicely produced beats and melodies.
This album is one for the soul lovers, love lovers and the plain old romantics.
– Amber Yeshpaul
Jaheim’s latest album Another Round is out now on Atlantic Records.