This eponymous 12 tracker is Eric Benét’s eighth studio album and his first since 2012’s ‘The One’. The delay may have disappointed fans of the Milwaukee-born soul man, but they won’t be disappointed by the new collection; it offers everything that those fans have come to know, love and appreciate abut Mr B!
First off there are plenty of those on point contemporary R&B beaters that Eric’s always excelled at. Best example is the brash opener, ‘Can’t Tell U Enough’. The MC Lyte guested ‘Holdin’ On’ offers a similar flavour. Slightly different but equally satisfying and danceable is the funky, Prince influenced ‘Cold Trigger’… clever and quirky with a sampled Vincent Price (I think) short, spoken intro. My ears can also hear the influence of Prince on the ponderous but sexy beater that is ‘Insane’.
Highlights of Benét’s long players, though, have always been the sweet ballads – tunes to showcase the man’s fragile falsetto. Best of the bunch here is the big production (courtesy of Demonte Posey) that is ‘Fun And Games’. ‘Broke And Busted’ is lovely too, while ‘Floating Through Time’ is as ethereal and atmospheric as the title suggests. Most intriguing ballad though is the melancholic ‘Never Be The Same’. Sub-titled ‘Luna’s Lullaby’, there’s clearly a personal story behind this one.
This album’s biggest surprise is the huge Latin romp, ‘Holdin’ On’. With guest input from celebrated trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, this is full on salsa – uplifting and optimistic. Clearly there’s a connection here with Eric’s recent contribution to the Cuba album ‘Two Beats One Soul’ (see our review section).
The album’s lead single is the sweet, building floater, ‘Sunshine’ – a good choice; a showcase for Eric’s famed falsetto.
‘Eric Benét’ is out now.