Well, I least I think it’s number 3. I can’t remember the last one I did that counted as one. I have one I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months, but haven’t put it up yet. Forget that, this one has priority.
So I was talking music with my dear friend Baby Jaguar last week (Hi Daneita) and she asked a question that I totally could not answer, until NOW. The question was…
Where the HELL is Maxwell!
And I thought to myself, yea, where the hell is he? He hadn’t had an album since 2001’s Now. Hell, Sade’s done something since then and you KNOW she can space out her albums like nobody else. And Maxwell was on a pretty good run when he came out. The voice, the timing, the blowed out hair, it was all there. However, I didn’t go snooping around for it right off the bat. It wasn’t until I was listening to a NeoSoul Cafe podcast last night at work when I heard “Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day: Of My Life”(I love his song) from his second album, Embrya. This is what sent me to finding out what’s the deal is. So let’s back up a bit.
Maxwell hit the ground running with his 1996 debut album, “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite”. I knew the album was going to be something when I saw the video for “‘Til the Cops come Knockin'”. And I only saw it once on B.E.T. The whole album was a hit and it played out like a story, or a suite, if you will. Notable songs* were, “Ascension (don’t ever wonder)”, ‘Reunion’, “Sumthin’ Sumthin'” (of course), and my personal favorite, “Suitelady (The Proposal Jam)”. He followed this album a year later with an MTV unplugged album. Let me go ahead and say that I don’t usually count “live” albums as full albums because they usually they are usually concerts centered around whatever album was out at the time and not full of any real new material. This one was no exception, but it did spawn a single from it and it was popular. He remade Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”, it took off, and he rode it until the wheels came off.
The video that started it all (for me)
1998 saw the release of the aforementioned album, “Embrya”. This also brought the release of some quite long and strange ass song titles. Nonetheless, the album was about as good as the first. Some would argue better. It worked the way it worked for me. Notable songs, “Everwanting: To Want You to Want”, the single “Luxury: Cococure”, “I’m You: You are Me and We are You”, “Submerge: Til We become the Sun”, and my personal favorites “Matrimony: Maybe You” and the aforementioned “Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day: Of My Life” Which, by the way, is exactly what was being taken typing all of this out. Jeez! Pretentious, much? Anyway, good album, terribly long titles.
Now that my hands are tired, i’m breezing through the res of this. Maxwell rode Embrya until 2001 (not really, but go with it) when he released “Now” where he re-ran “This Woman’s Work” as the jump off. This album was as good as the other albums, in my opinion, which is good. I happen to like consistency in an artist. Call me crazy. I guess now I should take the time to say that through out all of the albums laid the consistent production of Stuart Matthewman. The name may not sound familliar but the his sound does. He is part of the group Sweetback who also doubled at one point as Sade’s backing band (okay, do you see the connection?). So if you know the sound, then you know what this album sounded like. In fact, I forgot that Sweetback’s album and Maxwell’s first album came out the same year, so they had the connection even then. Maxwell also sung the song “Softly Soflty”, which is a nice song, on their album (go pick it up. It’s sexy).
Back on track. Notable songs… really, f like the first two albums, you probably liked this one. But since you insist on having notable songs here they are: “Get to know ya”, “W/as my girl”, and the hit single, “Lifetime”. After that, he dropped off the face of the earth. Or so I thought.
I just so happened to do a Myspace check and sure enough, he’s there. Not only that but it appears that he is working on a new album that looks to be out around Valentine’s day? This is great news, personally. There is one thing that has me worried. If you go to his Myspace page, you will notice something quite wild. No, not the fact that there are 3 tracks presumably from the upcoming album. The brother done cut his blow out! Oh wait, I think he just has it dreaded up and pulled back. his hair was kind of signature for him, so I got worried. Actually, I still am. Is this going to be the Maxwell of yesterday with some new material, or is this a new Maxwell that feels the need to flow with the mediorcrity of today’s R & B? Who know? Well, I guess I would if I had checked out the tracks on Myspace and I will later on. Right now, I’m kinda glad to see the brother is coming back out. Maybe lifting up the underground (Neo)soul genre, perhaps? We’ll see. Hopefully, he’ll still do a little Sumthin’ Sumthin’ (yuck, yuck yuck).
Sorry, had to make the joke.