With a voice unshakable and unmistakable, Anthony Hamilton’s singing can make even the blind see. At least his soul. He’s the deeper John Legend. They both share what I love to call the ‘church voice’–a matchless ability of fusing soul and spirituality in their music in a way appealing to both the gospel and secular music industry.
R&B has been drowning and seeking help since the start of the new millennium. Starting 2003 Anthony has been playing his part in the rescue mission. ‘Back To Love’ is his fifth album released in December 2011. I already fell for it head over heels, thanks M and now more than ever am convinced that the last sign of the apocalypse will be the halt of Anthony Hamilton’s animate lyricism and soul.
‘Back To Love’ is a show of his steady commitment to soul music. To consistently come out in honesty as he does and still be accepted and applauded in a decade hungry for trashy Riri and Maybach music-ego rappers is what I adore most about Anthony. A family man married with kids Vs Grammy award winning singer with a clean-cut image–his double stance is suave.
‘Who’s loving you’, is a man’s in-depth chat with the planets in pursuit of finding out why the love of his life is with someone else. Other songs in the album include praise to women, an account of self realization and prayer to God–most of which are packaged in an upbeat tempo. The dozen songs are a great party-or-kick-off-your-shoes-and-relax-your-feet compilation. Babyface co-writes and produces three of which deliver part of the album’s contemporary soul reminiscent of the 90’s musical thunder.
1. Back to love 3.20
R&B and neo soul at its best, this is a beautiful title track entrée. Most of us have experienced stormy relationships. In this song Anthony sings about one that needs God’s intervention for restoration. “How will we get us back to love? I want us to fall in love again,” he sings. Really love that Maxwell jazzy-quiet storm feel in this one. If you still have left the tiniest of hope in falling in love, again–this one is for you.
Contemporary R&B bordering on a hip hop beat spiced up with some horns, this one will make you bop your head and do a little jig. A continuation to the first song’s story, it’s a man’s assertion in rising above his fear of not loving. His relationship’s wall is jumbled mostly by people talking so he sings, “I don’t wanna listen, as I am grown and it’s my life.” If you ever had haters who couldn’t stand seeing you happy with someone, this is for you. Fuck what they say, only thing you should hear is your heart.
3. Woo 3.16
Oh this is a hard stepping killer, replay everyday baby! Every ensemble in it makes me believe that the babe Anthony is singing about was sure fly as hell. “I aint’ never seen a girl so bad, it feels so good,” he sings–witty pickup line if you ask me fellas Here I applaud Babyface for honoring the 90’s music feel. With a slightly slower tempo Woo’s spirit is inversely proportional to Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘I love music.’
4. Pray for me 4.39
Another Babyface classic. I like the story. A man distraught after breaking up with his lady sings a prayer to God asking him to simply bring her back. I hated hearing Babyface in the BGV’s because his identifiable voice suddenly makes it sound like he was featuring in the track. When solely producing records Babyface and JD need to shut their mouths. Great song altogether, there are situations when nothing else is left to say other than a prayer. Really love where Hamilton sings, “If you take me back I will be so good even Oprah would be jealous!”
Other songs include the SEXY Jill Scott-ish-groovy-sounds of ‘Best of me’, a serenade to a beloved marveling at the power of sharing life’s litu pleasures. ‘Never let go’ feat Keri Hilson is a fantastic duo yet a waste of the album’s only chance of a collabo. Keri’s crispy flat voice doesn’t complement Anthony’s. If I had to pick candidates for this spot it would be Melanie Fiona or Beyonce. It’s somewhat awkward that the album’s certified baby making jam ‘I’ll wait for you to fall in love’ has an abstinence theme. Que-ce qui’il ya ici?
12. Life has a way 4.13
This song is a distant relative to ‘Salt’ by Lizz Wright. Smooth jazz marking a beautiful finale and my best song in the album. I appreciated it’s message and soul. Antony takes the persona of a man who just found his life’s meaning. He sings that after thinking he knew it all he still found out that there is more room to grow as, “life humbles you down”. The message in this one is universal and simply an emphasis on always remaining humble, no matter what. I am down for Antony’s work of genius. This album will either help you get back to love or uphold the live-and-love-life policy. Enjoy!
BONUS: Anthony reveals the inspiration behind my favourite song, turns out he has a special spot for it too