Nearly two months ago, one of the greatest R&B artists of our time suffered a stroke that put him in a coma. On the heels of his latest effort, "Dance With My Father," Luther receives the support of nearly the entire music world. True indeed, calamity breeds unity. Without the companionship of a video, would Luther's latest effort be able to stand out up on its own and rest proudly between his previous classics that have spanned over the last three decades? Or would this CD get lost in the shuffle and be forgotten by the time he returns to 100%?
Well, this CD is definitely a must have for any Luther fan. It contains vintage Luther in the form of "If I Didn't Know Better," "Buy Me A Rose," and the reflective "Dance With My Father." The latter is a highly emotional track that anyone who has lost a loved one can easily relate to. Classic Luther. All three of these tacks are nearly flawless from production, to lyrics, to vocals, (which almost goes without saying).
This album also contains a handful of cameos. Foxy Brown appears on "If It Ain’t One Thing", Beyonce Knowles in the remake of the "The Closer I Get To You", Queen Latifah in "Hit It Again", and Busta Rhymes in both an original and remix to "Lovely Day." First off, let me make it known that none of these tracks are god-awful. Luther has the gift of compensating for a tracks flaw simply by his rich vocals. My problem is the chemistry. At the age of 52, the topic matter and tempo of the tracks just seem so forced. For some, the whole "lets act 40 years younger than we really are" persona works. (See any of the recent Mr. Biggs releases) The cameos only made the tracks worse. They made the difference between a somewhat solid track and an average at BEST track. I really couldn’t tell if Latifah was trying to sound like Foxy or visa versa. Also, I think we all could’ve done without the lost verse to "I Know What You Want" by Busta Rhymes on "Lovely Day" and its remix. The standout collabo, and probably one of the best tracks on the album is "The Closer I Get To You". Beyonce and Luther's voices blend perfectly on the remake. I've always been one that has thought Beyonce has a phenomenal voice, and if guided in the right direction, she can make some great music. This song definitely does the original MUCH justice. We all know how horrid a lackluster remake can be. (See Murder Inc.)
This CD, while not a classic, is definitely a solid effort. It proves that Luther, even at 75% can still make music that blows the majority of mainstream r&b clean out the water. This release captures the heart and soul and it bares something that few CD’s do.... Genuine heartfelt emotion. It’s a sad case that Luther can’t promote this CD the way he would’ve liked to. However, I highly recommend that any fan of Luther or just good honest music in general should cop this CD. Its a definite refreshment that will without a doubt make my top ten r&b album of 2003 list. Quality music such as this should not go overlooked.