Ginuwine | Elgin [Review]

Since kicking the door down on the scene back in the 90′s, Ginuwine has been trying to continue the magic that helped make him and the rest of the Timbaland camp such a force during that time period. One thing that folks may not realize is that with this being his 7th album, he averages an album every 2 years or so. Just like with everyone not named Eminem or not signed to Young Money, sales are fleeting and Ginuwine isn’t immune to the decline. Elgin is his latest attempt to not only restore some soul to the R&B game, but also regain the spotlight that has escaped him commercially.

One of the things you’ll appreciate bout this album if you haven’t been listening to his album since those Timbaland days is when Elgin takes a more mature look at music nowadays, generally speaking of course. “Heaven” is a great way to introduce the album, but it is a little misleading. While I did just say that he’s taking a more mature look at music, this song is one of the very few that feel truly age appropriate for him, and myself. He follows that up with “Break” which again, is a really good age appropriate song. Ginuwine does this sometimes where he manages to reach in a little deeper with the song writing and find a song that almost outshines the rest of the album and makes you wonder why he doesn’t do more like it. I joked that this song sounds like one of the solos in a Tyler Perry style play as he sings “I’ll be there if you break / I’ll be there if you crumble / Come to you if you come undone / catch you if you stumble / I’ll do what it takes, to put the pieces back in place / if you break.” The next song in the album is also the next example. The next song is “What Could Have Been” which manages to sound familiar and enjoyably Elgin at the same time. This is a good example of how to make a style or son your own and not be completely identical to others.

I gave you the good, so let’s talk about the others. We do get songs that are more closely tied to this mans rise to stardom. Some of those examples are  “Drink of Choice”, “Body”, and “Kidnapped.” All of these songs feel like failed attempts at recapturing the popularity of “Pony” from his first album. That could be me being short-sighted and just comparing these songs to that one because of the sexual nature of the songs, then again, I could be dead on. I haven’t really decided even as of this writing, but no matter which side of the fence the ball falls, these songs don’t really do much for me. They come across as lazy, contrived, and typical in comparison to the previously mentioned songs.

Two songs that really stand out to me are on complete opposites of the spectrum. One of the better songs on the album is “Busy” (bonus track). It definitely sounds like a Dream track or something that someone much younger would be singing, but there’s something about it that stands out from the rest of the album. The other song is “Batteries” which has the same cadence as Rihanna’s “Hard”. While I’m a sucker for a clap and chant on a song, if I’m not in the gym and only focused on the tempo, this song is not the move. However, if they can find a way to get this song on the radio, we’ll have a problem on our hands. Like most club songs, the lyrics are forgettable but the music makes you want to get up. Oh, and no matter what Trina is talking about, she’s one of the best beat riders out there, so you can expect vintage Trina here as well.

Bottom Line:
It’s evident that this is not the same guy that brought us the hits from the 90′s and that’s a good thing at times. There are also times that it sounds clear that he’s trying to compete with the younger generation so much that he sounds like them. There are more moments than not where this man who is over 40 sounds like Chris Brown, Usher, the Dream, and other much younger in this hybrid of music that is still being called R&B. You’ll have to decide if that is a good or bad thing on your own, but as far as this album goes, it’s much more enjoyable when you’re not trying to dissect to give a review, and are just listening to it passively.

Soulections: “Busy”, “Heaven”, “Break”, “What Could Have Been”, “Why Were Fighting”


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