Lloyd: Lessons in Love
Of course Lloyd Polite Jr. isn't a mature artist yet. The Atlanta R&B singer is only 22, even if he is on his third album, and as 2007's Street Love and the new Lessons in Love amply demonstrate, his persona is that of the inveterate young horn-dog you could take home to mother. Lloyd's voice is endlessly elastic, has rhythm to spare, and he yearns believably (very key, this). He also has a falsetto so high and pure it can make him sound, flat out, like a girl. This is key to his appeal--it buoys "Girls Around the World," Lessons' lead single, up to the most glorious piece of summer music the year has heard. (Too bad it stalled on radio.) But he mostly works with an exceptionally agile high tenor, and even when he sounds like your average 22-year-old R&B horn-dog, lyrically that believability gives even the most perfunctory make-out jams more jump and edge than just about anyone in his orbit.
Take "Year of the Lover," a wondrously confused thing ("Let's make a baby/ Let's do something crazy/ Let's reach out and love one another"--ambitious, isn't he?) that stops the music when Lloyd reaches the line, "You gon' kiss my back/ How sexy is that?" Rather sexy when you put it so shamelessly, Lloyd. He sounds good over the bluesy rock guitar coursing throughout "Love Making 101," too, and makes something of whatever that voice-box effect everyone's been using since Daft Punk secretly took over R&B earlier in the decade. And even when his idea of romantic foreplay is juvenile, which is often, it's instinctively generous and never crude. Not that you could resist that voice anyway.