Lloyd’s new album Lessons in Love, has one of the biggest singles this year with “Girls Around the World” ft. Lil’ Wayne. His brand of music isn’t asking for my attention, or much less a vote of confidence, but this album has captured my curiosity into what unseen conversation could bridge the gap.
I remember back in the nineties when Hip-Hops persuasion had shifted R&B acts to adopt a similar sound an image. Were Boyz to Men the first to own the "not too hard, not too soft" title? Today Usher Raymond and Justin Timberlake claim headlining roles, sell millions with blockbusters like My Way and Justified, dominate Pop airwaves, and publicly endorse presidential candidates.* This being said, today it seems that they gets as much smack as praise, which I believe is more to do with criticism over iconography than it does over musical work. So was the music ever really that good?
The jaded music critic might call for a public hanging, but what gets looked over are the aspirations of artists like Usher and Lloyd, that transcend their failures. They still speak to the conflicts between the sexes and culture that are just as relevant today as any other topic in music, for better or worse.
Lloyd boasts on "Treat U Good," how he wants to “Keep it hood/ Just a lil'' which pretty sums up his Pop appeal and his newest album. Through the eyes of a younger audience Lloyd's ethos is one of blissful salvation, and while gettin' nasty on top of the washing mahine might be a hard sell for older Pop critics, Lesson's success will say other wise.
The hating to go around on Lessons in Love is for good reason. There are many things to appreciate about Pop music, but a lack of emotional depth shouldn’t be one of them. Still, I have to admit that “Girls All…” is a hot single, I'm digging the vocal play and lyrical triples play on “I’m Wit It,” and his falsetto reminds a little me of an early Michael Jackson.
This is the High School party where the parents leave, everyone gets drunk on bad drinks made with good liquor, and Lloyd hopefully croons you to third base by the end of the night. Like those before him, he is a musical/sexual identity searching for confidence while maturing into adulthood . Lessons in Love is another youthful attempt for unrequited love, while keepin' it hood, just a lil.'
* Both endorsed Obama for president, but I remember reading some where that John McCain proclaimed that Usher was his favorite musical artist. Pandering, or true maverick?