Jaheim | Another Round [Writer's Choice Review]

Never judge a book by it’s cover. This statement is definitely true when it pertains to Jaheim. The cornrows (gone now) and association with Naughty By Nature and various other artists on the Hip Hop scene would lead you to believe that he does the same thing as them. This can’t be any further from the truth as Jaheim has been known as one of the most soulful, distinct voices reminiscent of Teddy Pendergrass. Another Round is his fifth studio and second with Atlantic records.

The album kicks off with what will prove to be the majority of the albums groove, mid to uptempo. Powered by the De La Soul sample, “Ain’t Leavin’ Without You”, which is also featured on the album as a remix, proves to be a very likable dance song. Rather appropriately, it was tabbed as the lead single. From there the rest, as I stated, pretty much follows the formula of that song. Rather than talk about the similar songs, we’ll focus on songs that tend to stand out for one reason or another.

One of these songs would be “Bed Is Listening”. While the title makes it pretty plain what the song is about, I’m clueless how the lyrics really tie into or what exactly, a “listening bed” is. I like to think that I’m pretty sharp and analytical when it comes to lyrics, but this one missed me on every listen. It seems to be suggestive, but not conclusive and leaves the door open…and off the damn hinges about what he’s really saying. The tempo is cool, but lyrically, it missed me. “Whoa” is similar in the respect that outside of just providing some nice background music, this song doesn’t offer anything of substance from what I can hear. I hate that he sings “Whoao0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0″ on the hook of this song as that quickly turns this song from boring to annoying.

Some of the better songs on the album are “In My Hands”, “II Pink Lines”, and “Otha Half”. These songs really seem to resonate better with me as passionate, songs that speak to the absent soul of what it is to be a man in the world as opposed to being a sex-crazed ball of misogyny. “In My Hands” is a beautiful weddings song. “When I hold you’re hand / I got the whole world in my hands /ever since the day you came across my path, that was the plan / what else could a man / with all the love his heart could stand / ever want for if the riches all around the land don’t compare to the woman he has.” I’m sure that several weddings or receptions featured this track with lyrics like that. “II Pink Lines” is what you get, apparently, on pregnancy tests when the results are positive that she’s pregnant. Armed with a rocked out guitar riff and a well produced track, Jaheim enthusiastically dedicates this song to all the fathers, soon to be fathers, and even those that have lost the opportunity to be fathers. While the current trend is that most black men are trapped or burdened with a child, this song is about the joy of being a father. “Otha Half” is one of my favorite songs on the album. This song reminds me a LOT of Luther Vandross’ “I’d Rather” not just in terms of the sentiment and lyrics, but in sound as well.

Bottom Line:
I must say that I’m taken aback a bit that someone with such a soulful voice seems to prefer (at least for this album) to sing uptempo songs. I haven’t listened to his other albums for comparison but I’m guessing that maybe you stick with the hot hand…in this case, that means less ballads than you’d (read I) would expect. For what this album is, it’s not amazing and it’s not bad. What is is though, ,is a good example of solid music. I think that the mature crowd, 35+ will find a lot more enjoyment with this album and it’s easy to dance to grooves.

Soulections: “In My Hands”, “II Pink Lines”, “Otha Half”, “Impossible”

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