When Everything Breaks Open
Phenomenal. He’s a soulful singer and also a richly expressive and capable songwriter who can write visceral melodies to sink his own teeth into, and poignant lyrics – such as “Forgiveness,” which is pure emotion, both nakedly vulnerable and confident, as if Don Henley collaborated with U2. The production throughout, by Justin Timberlake and Charlie Sexton, is inventively sensitive to the strength of each song, the result of which is something that sounds both new and old; old in the shape of its melodies and soulful vocals, but new in its sound and approach. “Someone To Hold You” is an ethereal but powerful song of pure hope set in a haunting Lanois-like soundscape. “Money” is a hip soul injection, like a classic Motown track circa 1966 but with modern-sounding drums, honeyed with lush harmonies by Timberlake. “Don’t You Dare” is somehow both anthemic and hypnotic, while “In this House” is a glorious r & b declaration, soulful with a little reggae lift. “Eternity” has a delicious chromatic chorus, like Stevie Wonder at his melodic best, which is totally unexpected and sharp in its contrast to its slinky R&B verse. Biblically-infused lyrics show he’s listened to the blues and Dylan as well as Motown and pop. His voice is fluid and smooth, reminiscent of Kenny Rankin and Al Jarreau at times, but bluesy and with more of an edge. This guy’s got it all, a great and unique sound, and very inspired songwriting.