"Brian gets a 4 for DIVERSITY although the CD actually gets a 3. This is, however, one of the first times I have heard the versatility of his voice. The first 2 songs are really traditional Brian, and once you get to #3 "Everytime You Go" you realize he's giving you something a little different than before...Grown Man Business....we'll skip this one....but #5 "Everthing I Do" is so GOOD, the "purple dude" is probably in awe, then #6 "Here With You" is a cross between El Debarge and the lead singer from AWB (if you know old school); amazingly "Your Song" sounds like Stevie or George Benson (the guitars make you lean more towards Benson) and "Come Back" reminds you of Marvin....
What's interesting about this approach is none of the aforementioned artists can sound like one of the others or like Brian McKnight. This guy's voice is SO OUTSTANDING...what a wonderful instrument!
That said, he continues to try to cater to the "masses" which doesn't match his talents as they are far more superior than what is considered "secular", so I did not like the "rap" influenced jams at all. Once he realizes that he is an R&B singer (and potentially jazz) and puts together a compilation with a "real" band and a different producer(sorry Brian)....the sky is the limit for him!!!
I sure wish he would hurry up! "
Brian is Showing a Different Side, But....
M. J. Moore | Chicago, Illinois United States | 09/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Brian McKnight was one of the most-prominent male, R&B artists to emerge in the 90s. His sales and success continued to increase towards the end of that decade and culminated with the multi-platinum success of his 1997 Anywhere CD and his 1999 Back to One CD. However, after that, his subsequent CDs, 2001 Superhero, 2003 U-Turn only went Gold and spawned hardly any singles success. Brian has matured and as a 37-year old singer, his audience seems to have matured causing him to only be played on Urban AC stations which really limits one to garner the commercial success that Brian experienced during the 90s. The music is also very mature.
What We Do Here-Produced by Brian McKnight, this mid-tempo was a hit on Urban AC stations but very few people probably heard it. Brian sings about what goes on with a groupie or one-night stand should stay "here", nobody has to know. The song has a strong drum presence and sounds like standard Brian...nothing new or out of his element. I like the minor modulation in the bridge. A-
Everytime you Go Away-Produced by Brian himself and containing one of my favorite instruments, strings. This longing, commiting ballad has Brian expressing his love for his lover in that the fact that every time he goes away him wanting to be around her. Brian's whiny, soft vocals fit this unconventional (at least in these times) conventional ballad very well. This was his second single which unfortunately experienced no success outside of the Urban AC venue. But this is the reason why I purchased the CD. It is an awesome ballad with a guitar interlude and some strong vocals towards the end. Brian really lets loose at the end which is something he rarely does. A+
Grown Man Business-Produced by Poke and Tone, this mid-tempo with elements of "Much too Much" written by Marcus Miller sounds like one of those old-school cuts or at least something from the early 90s. The song really fits Brian well as he lays down "grown man's business." A-
Everything I Do-Produced by Brian McKnight, this song begins with an instrumental that makes it sound like it will be a ballad but once Brian starts in a Prince-like falsetto, the song turns into a soulful mid-tempo. Brian's range and vocal abilities are evidenced on this song as he sings about everything he does, he wants to be around his lover. It sounds like a compliment to Everytime you Go Away. Once again, some good vocals and a different arrangement, very mature. A-
Here with you-Produced by Brian McKnight, this mid-tempo sounds old-school and to me, it is boring because it is hard for me to get into this kind of music. It sounds like something from his early 90s material. His vocals are good and the song is good, but it sounds dated. B
All Over Know-Produced by Brian McKnight and Don Curry, on this mid-tempo, more conventional song, Brian utilizes a different register of his vocals at certain points which makes the song different for him. However, the song does come off kind of boring and once again, it sounds like dated R&B. B+ She-Produced by Carvin "Ransom" Haggins and Ivan "Orthodox" Barias, and featuring Talib Kweli, this mid-tempo is nothing new but has some of that Marvin Gaye feel to it in certain parts as it is dedicated to "she"/her. Brian sings the song well and the rap from Talib is good, but following some rather boring songs, it does not break the monotony. B+
Stay-Produced by Brian McKnight, this jazzy song is boring. Nice vocals but once again it does not break the monotony. B
Come Back to Me-Produced by Brian McKnight, this mid-tempo is dated and is boring. Does not break the monotony. B
Whatcha Gonna Do?-Produced by Nikki Hollywood and featuring Juvenile and Skip, this new New Jack swing sounding cut finally breaks the monotony, samey sound of the songs before with an energetic opening rap from Juvenile. Probably one of the more commercial tracks on the CD. A-
Your Song-Produced by Brian McKnight, although similar to the other cuts produced by Brian, this song does not have that boring, monotonous feel to it as much partly because it follows a different song but also because it has more life to it. But not a standout though. B+
Me & You-Produced by Brian McKnight, this religious ballad is the obligatory religious ode that Brian includes on his CD and it is actually a very good song that speaks to the sacrifice that Jesus made for humanity. It makes me think that maybe Brian needs to do a Gospel CD because of all the songs, this one stands out the most. Very heartfelt. A+
Overall, this CD almost seems like Brian's sophomore slump as he is in some kind of slump. Most of the songs are very dated, very jazzy which is ok if that is what he wants to sing, but if he is looking for radio to play his songs he needs to revert to other genres of music...not necessarily rap because Brian does not sound as natural, comfortable with guest raps but some well-crafted R&B songs. He should probably stop relying on himself and utilize some underground producers like Ivan Ransom and Carvin Haggins who have produced some dynamite material for Faith Evans, Musiq Soulschild and others. Maybe he should cut a Gospel CD as he has an inspirational-sounding voice. Or he could cut a neo-soul CD, but he needs to experiment and try something different or he is going to be totally forgotten about as a vocalist. He also needs to experiment vocally as he sounds the same as he always has. Try something new, Brian. I guess , with the Gemini, this CD is showing a side of Brian we have not really experienced before or since 1992 when he first came out."
Make a U-Turn and start Back At One
Ess Mays | Atlanta, GA | 07/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I wasn't really feeling GEMINI, at all. I generally will listen to a CD in it's entirety before passing judgement; however, I couldn't resist the urge to fast forward to the next track after one minute of listening didn't manage to draw me into the music. Brian serenades me with his voice but in this effort I felt he'd "already done it before." Many of the tracks sounded as if he sampled his own work, laid some new vocals and slapped a new title on it and voila - a mishap. I give GEMINI a three because there were only three tracks that kept me from considering this effort a total flop."
My Favorite Artist Lost Some of His Soul
BlueEyedSoul | Motown | 02/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this album. Saying that I was still dissapointed. First, as usual, I was disapointed with how long it took for this album to drop. I heard "What we do Here" the first time on the Wayne Brady Show, that was taken off the Air in May of 2004. Moving on....
I loved the feel of this album, Brian produced most of the tracks and it gives the album a great flow. The whole time I felt like I was in a small R&B nightclub. Brian's Singing only seems to get better. When a man can do everypart of a 4-part harmony like he did on "Stay with Him", he is just talented. His sound is infectious and different then anyone else out there, a big reason he is one of my favorite artists. What happens to this album I didn't see coming. His lyrics feel like they don't have the soul they once and always did. You can't feel there is any meaning behind his words, maybe because he's not married, but somethings missing. He dosen't have any sad ballads on the album either. I miss the feelings he had on all his albums. From "Never felt like this" to "One Last Cry", "6,8,12", "Still", "Anytime" and "Kiss you love Goodbye", the feeling of his words to all this and more was what drew to the songs, everything else fell into place. He needs to find what worked for him before, and put it back in his life. Saying all this, I'm still going to listen to this album over and over again, see if I can find the soul I think is missing, but "Everytime you go Away" is one the best songs of his career, especially his best producing."