Maxwell: Blacksummers’night (Album Review)

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A sabbatical from music usually spells doom for any artist’s career, but most artists are not as revered as Maxwell. Eight years since his last studio release and thirteen years since his debut Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, an intense narrative that examines an adult romance from an initial encounter to its conclusion, Blacksummers’night signals the long anticipated return of one-third of the neo-soul movement’s Holy Trinity (Maxwell, D’Angelo & Erykah Badu).

The renowned crooner’s trademark falsetto signals his return on “Bad Habits” before the funky instrumentation takes over and continues onto “Cold”. The beautifully somber “Pretty Wings” continues to rise on the Billboard charts while also continuing its secretion from speakers during intimate late night sessions. Maxwell’s rich vocals echo over the supple “Stop The World” as he proves that no one can serenade females in an intimate session quite like he can.

Maxwell continues to dazzle over the uptempo melodies of “Love You” before proceeding into another of the album’s standout gems, “Fistful of Tears” as continues to sing his way back into both the mind and hearts of the female gender. Maxwell poignantly concludes Black with no vocals, only a jazzy instrumental in “Phoenix Rise”, metaphorically acting as a symbol of Maxwell’s resurgence and marking the close of the first installment in the Blacksummers’night trilogy. Backed by a 10 piece band throughout the album, at eight songs, an instrumental and a rumored bonus cut featuring Nas, the exceptional Blacksummers’night acts as a concise and able teaser until Maxwell’s supple vocals reappear next year with blackSummers’night.

4 spins (out of 5)

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