For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Second Listen Sunday : Maurice White, Maurice White
The year was 1985, and Maurice White, the frontman of Earth, Wind & Fire, decided to start a solo project while his bandmate Philip Bailey had already achieved solo success. Thus, EWF agreed to go on a hiatus.
Arriving in stores in September 1985, Maurice’s self-titled album encompasses an eclectic mix of musical genres, blending R&B, funk, jazz, and pop elements. The album departs from the signature Earth, Wind & Fire sound, offering a more personal and introspective musical experience.
The first single from the album was a cover of the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me.” White adds some synth sounds to the soulful masterpiece without losing the emotion from the original. White’s powerful vocals are heartfelt and have poignant delivery. The song envelops the listener, evoking a sense of warmth and nostalgia. Its melodic arrangement and poignant lyrics make it an instant classic.
The second single, “Switch On Your Radio,” is an infectious up-tempo tune with funk and disco elements. Maurice White’s masterful production and songwriting create an irresistible groove that perfectly exemplifies his ability to craft catchy melodies while maintaining a distinct musical identity.
Throughout the album, Maurice White showcases his versatility as a musician. “I Need You” is a smooth jazz track that highlights his keyboard skills, while “The Changing Times” features intricate percussion and pulsating rhythm, reflecting his connection to African rhythms.
One of the album’s strengths is its seamless transitions between various musical styles. Maurice White effortlessly fuses different genres, creating a cohesive and engaging listening experience. The production quality is top-notch, with a rich, polished sound that complements the meticulous arrangements.
While Maurice White’s solo album is undoubtedly a remarkable work, it may not resonate with fans primarily drawn to the Earth, Wind & Fire sound. The departure from their signature style might alienate some listeners expecting a continuation of the band’s iconic sound. However, this album offers a refreshing and compelling perspective for those who appreciate Maurice White’s artistry and are open to exploring his musical range.
In conclusion, Maurice White’s self-titled solo album is a testament to his immense talent and creativity. It showcases his ability to transcend musical boundaries and deliver a captivating musical journey. While it may not mirror the Earth, Wind & Fire sound, it is a remarkable accomplishment in its own right.
With its diverse musical palette, memorable melodies, and exceptional production, this album solidifies Maurice White’s status as a true musical visionary.
Final Grade: B+
Maurice White is available on all streaming platforms
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.