Babyface's latest effort, Playlist, is a solid compilation of original songs and covers from some of the best artists in the last century. Hence, there are two listening sessions that happen at once when you listen to the album: as a compilation to compare to the original versions of all the songs, and as a self-contained album by Babyface, who hasn't released an album since 2005 (Grown and Sexy).
As a compilation of covers, many of the titles ring true to what we expect from Babyface. He covers friend and fellow guitar-player Eric Clapton on "Wonderful Tonight," as well as a couple of James Taylor tracks ("Shower the People," "Fire and Rain"). His standout cover has to be the oft-hallowed "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan, a track Babyface has no problem putting an R&B spin on. His covers are still a little to the left from what we expect from Babyface, but it's still within a comfortable range where we're not wondering if his R&B is truly dead.
As an album, it's actually solid. Surprised by the lack of success of this album (though I'm not sure if an album of covers usually sells well), I was happy to hear something different from an R&B legend like Babyface. He brings the usual guitar riffs and soothing but soulful vocals to songs like his own "Soldier Song" and "Diary." The album's 10 tracks made it a solid listen.
I would recommend picking it up if you're a true Babyface fan, but if not, then at least give it a listen in some other medium. It's an honest and solid effort, and something that'll be on my play list.