First Impressions: Maxwell's Mid-Summer Night's Dream

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Patience is a virtue, or so it is said. Possibly those words of wisdom were created to ease the anguish of music listeners whom were silently coping with the eight year absence of one of Neo-Soul's finest craftsman...or maybe this is just pure exaggeration. Still one thing is for certain, when Maxwell is away, he makes it worth the wait. Thus patience proves to be virtuous.
Maxwell's announcement about his return to music was akin to the "shot heard 'round the world" back in 1775 when a revolution for independence began. It crackled, sparked and took many off guard that the neo-soul pioneer was back to business. Back to making women swoon, back to making men becoming romantic marshmallows and back to being one of this generation's musical sojourners. Blacksummers'night is physically what fans have been waiting in total vain for. For the Brooklyn native to be in his soulful zen and continuing to merge in the new class with the old. As Maxwell's 1996 debut opus Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, is possibly his finest hour, BSN is another stellar accomplishment in his cannon of work. Maxwell paints his canvas, and paints it with broad strokes of bold jazz instrumentation, splatters of organic soulful quality and smears it with sweet harmonies to make for quite the engaging portrait. The adventure begins with the angelic voice of Maxwell as he gives us a come-hither introduction to what the sizzling, "Bad Habits" is all about. The funk bucket of "Cold" is nothing to be frigid about as it wiggles along while "Help Somebody" surges with urgency and boldness. And to think that that's just the first half. It's pretty evident from jump street that Maxwell has been slaying over this project to get it just so. You can hear that commitment in such compositions such as the decadent "Fistful Of Tears" and even in his comeback single, "Pretty Wings". To close the set is the fusion-funk of "Phoenix Rising", a title that is wondrously poignant in association to Maxwell's rise back from a seven year absence. Oh, yeah folks, Maxwell has risen from those ashes and is back, and rightfully so.

Rating: 9.9/10 (A perfect 10 would just be snotty)
Release Date: July 7, 2009


  1. "...paints it with broad strokes of bold jazz instrumentation, splatters of organic soulful quality and smears it with sweet harmonies..."

    Love that! You described the album beautifully. LOL!

    Such a great album I don't even know what more to say.

  2. Thank you! Oh, and believe me it was HARD to write this review...that's how almost perfect this album is that words can't even do it justice. It's insane.


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