Sean LeVert had already experienced great success in the group LeVert with his older brother Gerald and childhood friend Marc Gordon before turning thirty. Following the release of the group’s sixth album For Real Tho’ in 1993, Sean struck out on his own with his solo debut in June of 1995.
Released by Atlantic Records and titled The Other Side, the album follows the Levert formula. Sean linked up with his big brother Gerald and frequent collaborator Edwin “Tony” Nicholas for the album’s lead single, “Put Your Body Where Your Mouth Is.” The song is a sexy slow cut that solidifies the notion that the LeVert men know how to set the mood when it comes to R&B music. Sean is adamant about not being stuck in his father and brother shadows, and for the most part, he succeeds.
Sean opens up the album with a sultry slow jam that finds him working with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal. Based on the song title “I’m Ready,” one would think it’s a track about Sean striking out solo. Instead, it’s a standard nineties track that the youngest LeVert shows off his crisp vocals. Following the opening track, Sean links up with his group mates Marc Gordon & Gerald for a player’s riding track. What makes the track stand out is the production flip of the sample of “Munchies for Your Love” by Bootsy Collins.
“Same One” is a great ballad that finds Sean in a duet mood with father Eddie and older brother Gerald. All three men sound great on the track, and it’s a shame that we never got a full-on album from the trio. “Place To Be” is another fresh up-tempo track with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal’s production. This song would’ve been great as the opener during Sean’s live show. While Sean’s voice is pristine, he does have his share of filler tracks on the album. “I’m In a Freaky Mood,” “The Other Side,” and “Just for the Fun of It” aren’t particularly memorable and come off more as LeVert leftovers than something for Sean.
Thankfully Sean regains his momentum on “Tasty Love,” where he flips “Computer Love” into a bedroom banger. Hearing this song in 2021, I’m surprised that this wasn’t a single as it has the makings of a Midnight Love countdown staple. Sean closes the album out with another Manuel Seal & Jermaine Dupri collaboration titled “Only You.”
Sean released his album at the age of twenty-six, and one of the surprising things is the label didn’t push him more towards a Hip Hop soul sound. Linking Sean with producers such as Puff Daddy, Eddie F, and Cory Rooney for some up-tempo tracks would’ve been a wise move and expanded the talented singer’s reach even further. Sadly Sean’s album went unnoticed as he had to compete with D’Angelo, Montell Jordan, and the King of POP.
Nevertheless, this is a fine debut overall and worth visiting if you enjoy grown man nineties R&B.
Top Tracks: “Put Your Body Where Your Mouth Is,” “Same One,” and “I’m Ready.”
Final Grade: B-
The Other Side is available on all streaming platforms.