STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 161759-23975 LABEL: Warner Bros 93624493820 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Sometimes it takes an age for Cross Rhythms to catch up with people of faith working in the mainstream. Such is the case with Brooklyn native Eli Paperboy Reed. And now that he's showing on our radar you can be assured you will be catching up with the five albums this enormously talented singer and songwriter has so far released. Eli's first three projects were retro-soul and his latest album is a gospel set which, according to Record Collector magazine, is his best yet. What about this album released in 2014 by Warner Brothers? Well, despite being an excursion into electro-tinged pop bringing in co-producer Ryan Spraker with a bevy of top rate (and expensive) mixers and programmers, it didn't produce any hits and, in the way of major labels, Eli was summarily dropped by the major label. The lack of any hits is to me amazing as 'Nights Like This' is crammed full of catchy hooks and engaging rhythms. Whether it's a surging electro-driven "WooHoo" with its whooping BVs, the staccato vocal on "Grown Up" or the clever "Not Even Once" on which Eli warns his onetime lover that he is not going to be writing any more songs for her, there is so much energy conveyed in Eli's wheezing hyperactive vocals that I'm convinced that had these cuts got radio exposure pop stardom would have ensued. One reviewer who didn't like the album suggested that the expensively slick electropop production had "drained the soul out." Well, maybe Eli doesn't sound black on this set. But if you approach this album as a set of hooky pop skilfully aimed at a young audience, you'll find plenty to enjoy.
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