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Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Casual Critic — Maze's "Can't Stop the Love" and "We Are One"

It never really hit me just how personal music can be until I attempted to review Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. My musical tastes are admittedly pedestrian — Genesis is about as far off the play lists of '80s and '90s stations that live on Madonna, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, and the like as my musical tastes get. Yet, I've been surprised at times to like albums by Will Smith, Eminem, and Crazy Town.

I remember channel surfing once and landing on a Simply Red concert — a band I'd never paid much attention to — and adding their "Greatest Hits" to my music library. It turned out the album was far from new, but it was new to me, and I played it as often as any new album I like. Yet, selecting new music to buy often feels like a blind tastes test. One hit song on the radio is usually all you get as a sampling, unless you borrow an album off a friend.

Attempting to actually review a CD seems to present a whole host of other problems. How do you review a R&B CD if R&B isn't you "thing?" Yet, that question never seems to come up when we offer our opinion on a book or movie. Besides, I figured my effort to write a review once a week would go much better if I included music on occasion, so I gave Maze a shot.

The better of the two albums I had the chance to review from Maze was "Can't Stop the Love." The first song, "Back in Stride," was the best of the bunch, offering more rhythm and livelier music. There's just something in Beverly's voice that I don't like in the slower songs, which is avoided here. The title track and "Too Many Games" also stood out for me as a step above the rest.

Maze's "We are One" started out strong with "Love is the Key." It moves a little bit, wakes you up, and doesn't over do what seemed to feel like Cool 'n' the Gang leanings, which nobody admits to ever having liked. Seven smooth songs followed, none distinguishing itself from the other.

So, though I wouldn't add these to my collection, I'm guessing they're worth a listen for R&B fans.

1 comment:

  1. i can tell by your review that you must be a white guy,its not uncommand for some races dont get(not understanding or not feeling the music) some of our best music. i was at that concert in new orleans when it was recorded,and his slower songs,well you have to feel what he is singing as well as listening to it, then you might get it. but it is almost impossible to to even think that he has never won any type of award, but yet all of his concerts sell out of tickets,and just about every black person 38-39 and above owns atleast one copy and in some cases the entire collection. those who really know r&b knows that he is amoung the greatest,smoothess soul singers that is still alive today. to get it you might have to listen to (look at california,the golden time of day, oh well the entire antholgy 2 disc set). better yet see if you can find a concert that he is doing,and when you do,then you might get it.scott


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