Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
rmcrae | Houston, Texas | 05/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Erykah Badu, Maxwell, and D'Angelo are credited for kickstarting the neo soul movement of the 90s. That's true, but people forget to mention the Amel Larriuex/Bryce Wilson duo Groove Theory. They hit the big time with their 1995 debut single Tell Me. It's breezy, easy going vibe coupled with Trey Lorenz's (friend and backup singer to Mariah Carey) sweet tenor screamed "HIT". Unfortunately, they would have only one other hit with Baby Luv before Amel left the group and it eventually folded. Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself.
Their debut album effectively fuses pop with jazz and hip hop. Baby Luv, a dedication to her older daughter who was a baby at the time, trades in the funky single version for a 60s throwback take. I prefer the remix, but the original is nothing to sneeze at. The jazzy Hello It's Me slightly picks up the tempo of the Isley Brothers version and I love how Amel makes it her own. Everything from her relaxing lead vocals to her dreamy backup and the mellow production sounds heavenly. She runs into an old boyfriend on the hip hop heavy Time Flies and begs to joyride with her current guy on the summery Ride (great Michael Jackson shout out!).
It's not clear if Amel's singing to a lover or a son on the cool as winter Come Home, but she begs him to stay away from the streets and out of harm's way. "The streets will never love like I do/You won't find out until you're alone/The streets will never love you like I do/So leave that life behind and come home." Keep Tryin' optimistically encourages everyone to soldier on when sorrows in life threaten to take you down. "Lift your head to the sky/And keep tryin'/Believe in you/And it will take you higher!"
Amel's two "people" songs are less positive. 10 Minute High tells the story of a young girl using drugs in order to escape her traumatic past and equally bleak present. Her tragic end warns others of the dangers of drug addiction. The Boy at the Window is about a little boy with an alcoholic skirt chasing father who abandons him night after night to go out partying. The boy grows up mimicking his father's ways and falls into hard times. Amel calls those who see this abandoned little boy to reach out and help him. It could change his future for the best. Neither song is heavy handed in it's message.
Now to my favorite! Amel thanks her lucky stars for finding a man worthy of her heart on the smooth Didja Know. Once again Amel's lead and background vocals weave seamlessly into the melody accompanied by a deep male voice. Top notch! A man finds the woman of his dreams on the sunny Angel and the groovy Good 2 Me sets the rules the man must follow in order for their relationship to thrive. Amel tells a heartbreaking ex she's not interested in getting back with him on You're Not the 1 and Hey U is a nice track to zone out to.
Amel went on to release 4 terrific solo albums and Bryce produced hits for Toni Braxton and Mary J. Blige while also trying his hand at acting. I'm happy to announce that after 15 years, Groove Theory is back in the studio recording a new album. Let's hope they pop out another classic."