"Together we're classic and timeless," R&B singer Jaheim croons on "In My Hands." Indeed, Jaheim keeps it classy and old school soul reverent on Another Round, a satisfying collection of ballads and danceable tracks.
Jaheim may be most familiar to listeners through the hit singles "Fabulous" and "Anything," both off his successful album Still Ghetto. Sounding like a mix of Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, Jaheim's textured voice handles uptempo tunes and slow jams with ease. Another Round's leadoff track, "Ain't Leavin' without You," will surely entice everyone to the dance floor. The beat and catchy chorus slightly echo the New Jack Swing of the late 80s-early 90s. Switching gears with "Impossible," the song resembles a 60s ballad like "When A Man Loves A Woman," but with subtle hip hop accents, such as Jaheim's rapid fire vocal delivery.
"Her" best reflects the Pendergrass influence, with its carefree rhythm, breezy background and Jaheim's resonant voice. Smooth R&B such as this track allows Jaheim to fully utilize his layered singing style. Pendergrass would also approve of "Finding My Way Back," a Philly-soul tinged number with nods to songwriters Gamble and Huff. The airy "Till It Happens to You" has a finger-snapping beat that still works as a ballad.
Vandross is present in "In My Hands," which allows Jaheim to fully explore his upper range. Along with pretty chord changes, the background harmonies surround the chords, exuding a true "quiet storm" aura.
Another interesting aspect of Another Round is that it manages to be seductive without being crass. "Closer" succeeds in being romantic yet not explicit. Jaheim lends a raspy edge to this track, but still uses his upper range. Like no other track, "Closer" illustrates the intricate layers of Jaheim's singing style."Bed Is Listening," which features a heavier, bass-driven beat, is offset by Jaheim's smooth voice and string-accented arrangement. Again, Jaheim sets a romantic mood through his voice and the music, not overly explicit imagery. While "Otha Half" contains a familiar theme—the "baby please come home" motif—Jaheim's singing and a nice harmonica solo transcend the genre.
The only straightforward hip hop tracks include a remix of "Ain't Leavin' without You," featuring Jadakiss (who also teamed up with Jaheim on "Every Time I Think About You" from 2006's Ghetto Classics). While a remix can lend a new perspective to a track, this one improves little on the original. The album's title track also contains a heavy beat, and the entire effect sounds like an Usher tune. Still, "Another Round" joins "Ain't Leavin' Without You" in being a party starter.
Another Round, Jaheim's fifth album, represents another step in a varied career. In addition to music, he is also a model, rapper, and actor. This latest release proves that Jaheim shines when paying tribute to 70s soul and letting his voice, not explicit lyrics, do the seducing. Fans of old school soul who also enjoy hip hop should definitely give Another Round a listen.
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