Black Summersnight – Maxwell (Album Review)


Haven’t listened to any other thing since the day I got my hands on this album. It takes me away to a dark beautiful place, full of soul. Blacksummersnight is Maxwell’s fourth studio album and the first of his trilogy.

His first three albums came in between the 1996 – 2001. It then took him almost nine years to put up the nine-tracked Blacksummersnight, which epitomizes both R&B and neo soul genres. It was a long but deserved break and certainly Maxwell came back from the hiatus with a lot of maturity, sensuality not withstanding. It is reported that actual studio time taken to complete the album took three years.

1. Bad habits 5:52

Maxwell’s falsetto tells a story of a man, imprisoned by his woman’s silence. She actually does speak but without a sound, leaving him highly addicted and lost to her highest cost of her love. The music video starts by Maxwell receiving an envelope with a key, just as his girlfriend was about to kiss him goodbye, on her way out of the house. He constantly sneaks in the back alley to meet his lover whom he locks into passionate love with. Watch the video maxwell- bad habits

2. Cold 4:02

He is a man in marvel of how mean his woman could get. He sings that, hell has no fury like the fury of her storm, that even global warming has got nothing on her. And now he now knows why he always felt that something as good as her could never love him. She left him so he sings to her, “God bless you, you too good for me.”

3. Pretty wings 5:10

This is a beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics. Maxwell sings that there shall come a time when there will be no feelings or residuals to hold her to him anymore. He believes that one day he will have to let her go. He is afraid that if he holds on to her, she will then be afraid to spread her pretty wings, and here i suppose he meant her soul. Simple music video.I think the fact that it has different women all dressed the same symbolizes the fact that no matter which woman it is out there, she deserves to be loved  :-) Watch the video maxwell- pretty wings

4. Help somebody 4:01

Powerful and intense beat to this song. It is the plea of a man who feels like he has a lot of abilities in him and urges everyone who is like him to help somebody in a world that is full of trouble. He then pleads to be helped for he is not perfect. Guess even in imperfection or eternity, there is need for help. Amazing piano, saxophone and trumpets fusion as the song ends. Love it.

In a short interview called, ‘5 days of black’ from the official album, Maxwell terms the song as an effort of extending a helping hand. “We are at a time where we need to sort of see ourselves in other people, it’s the selfless nature and how we have to get to that,” he said.

5. Stop the world 3:56

Certified baby making jam. Definitely love the R&B feel, slow and sensual. Maxwell sings that somebody need to stop the world so he can love his woman without the world’s rage. For when he is with her the world stops falling, in the mean time he will make love to her till the world stops, wow! Nice guitar work too.

6. Love you 3:35

A love song that’s upbeat! That’s what i am talking about! Cool neo-soul. He sings that fatigue caught up with her appearing and disappearing acts. He is giving  her his word that he can be anything she wants him to be, only if she lets him love her. Quite a lovely track to #musiceveryday and getting back to an Ex.

7. Fistful of tears  3:39

Monster track with an intense R&B beat, just right for the heart! Lyrics touch on how people always fight and throw fists. After a fight, you go insane, crazy sometimes but why don’t we fight, not to throw fists but for the world? That way only one thing will be thrown, a fistful of tears. DEEP. Watch the video 


8. Playing possum 4:22

Playing possum is one of the most beautiful songs my heart and ears have experienced in the years I have lived. It’s old English to mean, lying low and pretending that you are asleep or not hearing/ seeing something.

This song made me cry. It’s acoustics echo sentimentality. Loved the guitar and the smooth drums. She plays possum, pretending that she doesn’t need him, he therefore sings to her to open up and wake up. He says that he will be there where she is and very still, if she wasn’t.

9. phoenix rise 2:41

This is kind of Maxwell’s show off of how good he can make instruments speak! No vocals in this one, just that neo- soul mix. Very cool for a chilled out evening or a party. Am picturing a lot of wine and good happy people in this one🙂 Out of 5, I give Maxwell 5 STARS  :-)

BONUS: At the 52nd Grammy Awards, ‘Blacksummersnight’ bagged the best R&B album of the year, he also took the award for best male R&B vocal performance in  ‘pretty wings’.

6 thoughts on “Black Summersnight – Maxwell (Album Review)

  1. THis album…i gotta cop it…till today it oozes appeal yet it came out almost a year ago…Actually july 15th 2009…I thought he would do a deluxe version of it but since he and his label imprint SONY have announced that blacksummers night is just one third of the new maxwell trilogy (oh yeah don’t think he was just gone randomly,all this time since 2002 he was recording all this material we’re listening to right now and the next 2 albums,which are said to be better than this) then am satisfied. His new video just premeired(it was a world premeire now it’s only a USA premiere though we’re still waiting,except 4 me and the head of this blog we’ve watched it before SONY blocked online viewing out of the states) FISTFUL OF TEARS is wonderful,period… if you haven’t listened to it,just google it,torrent it,do whatever…this album is on fire…esp those late rainy nights with no electricity and just you,a lit candle and your ipod…Trust,i tried that…you wont regret.

  2. ‘Blacksummersnight’ was initially going to be a trilogy project of 3 albums dropping over three years back to back as ‘Black’ then ‘Summer’ then ‘Night.’

    It clearly didn’t work out that way but this is grown up R&B. It’s a good thing the academy recognized it, it’s a truly deserving body of work.

    The triogy concept remains, I don’t know what the new titles are. If this one was “Black” the next one, “Summer” should be upbeat and more bubbly.

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