Brian McKnight's new album entitled, "Anytime" is yet another addition to his list of wonderfully sentimental albums that blends melodies of R&B with soulful exclaims of love. "Anytime" has quite a few songs which inspire some of the same emotion clad tunes as his previous two albums though this album has a somewhat different feel to the tracks. Gone are to solitary piano chords that resonated on some of his former songs and now are more studio produced tracks which include a few samples intertwined into the melodies. Whereas, Brian formerly had moments in which he serenaded you in a smokey cafe with lights dimmed and just he, his vocals and piano. Now he sings to you in a mildly lit club with a band and a few knucklehead MC's to add to the flavor. He has approached his time of re-engineering his sound for the younger kids with the inclusion of such artists as Mase on the up-tempo track entitled, You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time). It is a catchy chorus and a dance-able beat, definitely groove worthy and radio friendly.
There are a few high points on the album that I should mention. On track number 1, entitled Anytime also the album's namesake, Brian gets crazy sensual with this song. The piano has a dreamy repetitive feel to it and the beginning key strokes are reminiscent of an earlier production by Me'shell N'degeOcello from her Plantation Lullabies album called, Outside Your Door. Call me crazy, but when I heard it I had to pull out both albums to compare notes.
Then there's the track entitled, Show Me The Way Back To Your Heart, a beautiful ballad with wrenching emotions. It's one of the best songs on the album. In it, he shows his tender writing skills that has made him one of the premier balladeers of our generation. The guitar strings in the beginning and throughout the song add to the flavor of the melody.
On the song entitled, I Belong To You (another favorite), Brian gets oh-so jazzy. The rasp drums and the electric guitar flicks made me wish that I was the one he belonged to. It is a very good song. It had a different feel to it and Brian's sincere deliverance of the tune was exceptional.
On Jam Knock, there is a sample of the song, "I Can't Wait". It's an upbeat track and definitely a "Friday Night" track. One to dance to, it has a mellow groove. Nothing harsh or overdone, just a nice groove. It may even prove to be one for the Jeeps and Lexus' out there.
His final tune on the album entitled, When The Chariot Comes, was a powerfully beautiful rendition of a soul's preparation to move on from this life. The strings, background vocals and drums are striking and poignant. Reminiscent of an old slavery hymn sung during times of laboring in the fields. A powerful exit to a very nice album.
This reviewer gives this album a strong 8 out of 10. Though it is a well-rounded album I still miss the smoke filled cafe feel of his previous albums in which he exclaimed his 'bouts of heartbreak and pain. Brian consistently proves to be one of the most dramatic song writers out today. He delivers those tunes that make our hearts race and weep with the drama's of love, which is how it should be done. Til Next Time, Smooches Y'all.