So then here I sit cuppa tea in one hand, Brazil on the telly with the sound down, in a plush Sony BMG office, with Nick Raphael someone I have the utmost respect for, getting the first play of the full Lemar album, can life get any better than this, well maybe, but I don't think England will win the World Cup.
First up the lead single "It's Not That Easy". The most noticeable thing about this track is how Lemar, a vocalist I have supported and thought was amazing for nine plus years now, has stepped up a gear on this set and none more evident than the lead track.
Next up "I Just Can't Live Without Each Other Love", more evidence of how he is vocally, make no mistake Luther Vandross will be looking down from the heavens and saying "you know what kid, you done that real good" a track that the master would have been proud to have recorded. Loads of strings, in fact it sounds like an orchestra backing. Sam Cooke's inspiration is more than evident on a track he wrote to his girlfriend, no not Joss Stone you fools, that is what the tabloids want you to believe, his real girlfriend, explaining, in the song, how he counts the seconds to he returns home to her and his life's comforts, the track is called "Tic Toc".
Now then all this about Lemar and Joss Stone has come around after they were snapped on two separate occasions in two very different parts of the world, Cornwall and Barbados whilst recording the duet together. Now, either the two of them are just trying to wind up the gutter press even more or they are opening themselves up to even more speculation. The track is called "Anniversary", but it is in the lyrics where they confess their love for one another, that's gonna have the tabloids tongues wagging all over again. Vocally I have never heard Joss Stone sound so good, she is a fantastic vocalist, but this showcases that talent even more so than anything she has done on her own albums.
The only real out and out urban track on here is "Can't You See" and even that is still smooth as silk. Almost to the point of being Jaheimish, it features backing vocals from Mica Paris and Styles P of The Lox delivers a solid rap break. Add to this a poignant tribute to his late mother "Your face" this is about how Lemar still reaches out to his mum for help and advice even though she is up with Luther and Marvin in Soul Heaven, a real tear -jerker. "
Beauty Queen" is a Prince inspired musical masterpiece of jaw dropping quality and boy what a chorus so reminiscent of the purple one at his soulful best, even the keyboards and guitar riff have a prince edge to them.
Now to the tracks that is so like and inspired by another huge soul star, Lemar himself. "Be Faithful" is of the quality of 50/50 classy keyboards, deep meaningful bass lines it's got it all. "When A Broken Heart" is more mid beat big sounding soul and the dreamy acoustic swayer "Love Me or Leave Me".
So we save the best to last "Someone Should Tell You", this is a world-wide monster hit in any language. The crisp drums and keyboards, the quality of the production all simply merge together to give Lemar the perfect back beat for his best vocal performance and best song to date. Lyrics like "Someone should tell you how much I love you, coz I wish I could hold you the way I want to hold you. Coz no one can love you like I love you" will adhere to all races and creeds.
This album is not watered down, it is about one thing and one thing only SOUL and the respect that the entire Lemar camp has for the genre, including his A&R and mentor at Sony BMG Nick Raphael.
This album deserves to be one of the biggest selling albums in UK history and not just from a black / soul / urban point of view, I mean period. The album should at the very least get him nominated for "Album of The Year" at the Brits.
This could well be Lemar's "Off The Wall" the critically acclaimed album Michael Jackson released before unleashing "Thriller" on the world. So is Lemar's "Thriller" next, who knows.
One thing is for sure Lemar has stepped into the Big Boy League and, you know what, with an album of this quality he really isn't out of place.
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