Friday, June 8, 2007

Joe - Ain't Nothin' Like Me

Ain't Nothin' Like Me
Modern R&B has always been marred by stupidity (T-Pain and his straight-from-the-libido lyrics) or unintentional irony (Bobby Brown getting arrested while singing "Roni") and that's what makes Joe such a treat. On his sixth album, the crooner kills it with consistency, never turning out a dud. From the opening cameo by Nas to the fine hump-a-thon inciting slow jam "Life of the Party," Joe focuses on the things that make R&B great: the hooks, the production, the singer’s soul. Of course, you'd expect someone to have their craft down to a near science if they've been around since the new jack swing era(!), but the reason that Ain't Nothin' Like Me works is not because of Joe's professionalism but because he infuses these songs with a strong sense of self. Joe is the opposite of Tank, a horny baller that sounds oddly detached from his tunes, like he's focusing on the orgy later instead of what he's recording. That's not to say that Joe is George Jones, but Ain't Nothin' Like Me takes on a more personal feel than modern R&B fans are used to, like Joe had a hand in making all these songs. Sure, nothing quite measures up to "Stutter" or "I Wanna Know," but in this day and age, the overall quality of this album is a real rarity, something that will be sure to catapult Ain't Nothin' Like Me into many year end lists.

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