First Impressions: What An Album By A 'Music Fan' Sounds Like

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confession. I'm pickier when it comes to listening to male artists. Don't ask me why, but I just am. Maybe its because some of the male artists today just like taking their shirts off more than actually singing or they "whine n' dine" sing (aka the male vocalist who "whines" about his love for a woman). Also I'm not a big fan of those male vocalist who do all that "I wanna getcha home and give you birthday sex cause you is sho' is fine" mess. In a wrap-up: I don't like my male music with more frills and tacky glue than Hobby Lobby's fabric section. That type of music seriously makes me feel like I'm at a club and being fed corny lines by a boy that just won't quit. I like my men's music with some grit, some funk, some growth, some creativity...some depth. I don't mind vulnerability, but please don't beg on your knees, cause you'll end up with your knees skinned....and there is nothing pretty about that. So where does Eric Roberson fit into this ramble of sorts? He fits in because here is a male vocalist who doesn't need all the gimmicks of male R&B-dom, who exudes something that shows quality and commitment and who has released an album that is clearly for the music fan, and he didn't even have to do all the mainstream tactics to accomplish that. In hindsight, Roberson has been overlooked on my radar, possibly because it's the natural habit of a music blogger...there is just so much you can listen to in well...a day. Fortunately, playing catch-up is always fun, and spinning Roberson's latest, the independently produced Music Fan First, it was easy to get involved in Erro's world from the first second of the opening track.

It is said you have to be a fan to fully engage in artistry, where you take what inspires you and spin it into something that works for you. Roberson has done this effortlessly on his fourth album from the beginning to end, as each and every track was carefully crafted to be unique and special in its own way. Opening the set is the swell of "The Newness" which sets up the album in an electro swirl of synths, hypnotizing you into its sweet exterior. The buttery vocal tones of Lalah Hathaway adds more texture to the simmering duet of "Dealing", and it dares to recalls what made Lalah's late father, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack's 70's duets so special and passionate. Stark brass and bubbling bass back up the methodical soul cool-down of, "The Power That Kisses Hold" while the sultry lullaby, "She" is just divine. The head bobbing, "Bad For Me" is another scorcher as is track, "The Hunger" which persistent hip-hop slickness meets up with 70's R&B harmonies for a stellar meld. Funky good times happen on the bouncy, "Wanna Believe It Again" which peppers in some brass work and proves to be a highlight track, especially with Wayna's sweet vocals cooing in the background.
At the moment Eric Roberson is soul music's best kept secret, and possibly with a bit more exposure, he may not be so secret anymore, as his music is worth sharing with all the music fans in your life.

Rating: 9.6/10
Release Date: August 25, 2009

Dealing (ft. Lalah Hathaway)
Wanna Believe It Again (ft. Wayna)
The Power That Kisses Hold


  1. I agree with you re: male artists. I'm not sure what it is but the majority of my collection, especially newer artists, are female.

    If i'm honest MFF dosn't really do anything for me. I don't dislike any of the tracks, I just don't particularly love any of them.

    However I do respect Erro as an artist and I do own all his previous albums.

  2. I think Eric Roberson is amazing, I like this album a lot.

    There are a handful of male artists that are really doing their thing at the moment, but the rest seem to be female artists. There are a lot of female artists releasing some really great music.

  3. Mos def in agreeance with your commentary on Male artists in general on today's R&B landscape. I especially agree with statements about Erro. Just recently started listening after being berated by Viv and Butta for not listening to him before.

    MMF is a very solid effort and though I like the LP as a whole, the few tracks you mentioned are standouts, although I think I'm diggin' "A Tale Of Two" and "Dealing" the most. Those are still in rotation right now for me along with "Been In Love" from his Left...disc.

    Props for this one!


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