x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Anthony Hamilton: Back to Love

The Grammy winner's latest smooth soul album is packed with his best hooks yet.

Back to Love
RCA
***

For the past 15 years the Grammy Award-winning artist Anthony Hamilton has built a steady career as an underground soul-man. However, his star began to rise after his memorable musical appearance in the Denzel Washington crime epic American Gangster, and now with his sixth album Back to Love he may finally have the songs to finally push him into the mainstream.

It's not that Hamilton changed his style in any way; Back to Love is another collection of smooth soul ballads with a tinge of funk, rock and gospel. But while previous albums were slow, sensual affairs, Back to Love is packed with Hamilton's best hooks yet.

The lush opening title track begins with Hamilton crooning: "Here we are/ at the storm of our lives" as he launches into another of his signature ballads about mending broken hearts. In the Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds-produced Pray for You, Hamilton showcases his beautiful phrasing as he recounts his indiscretions. However, it is nearly spoilt by the cheesy 1980s keyboards supplied by Baby Face.

Still, the super-producer makes up for it with Woo, a slick track showing Hamilton is just as comfortable singing modern R&B as well as classic soul. Hamilton keeps it current with his Keri Hilson collaboration Never Let Go; its pristine production and glossy keyboards may be Hamilton's best shot yet at the pop charts. But for those looking for old-school Hamilton, the Southern funk of Life Has a Way will more than satisfy.