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Authenticity

The Foreign Exchange

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Album Review

The Foreign Exchange family’s third 2010 release, following YahZarah's The Ballad of Purple St. James and Zo!'s SunStorm, Authenticity is the third proper album from the flagship act helmed by Nicolay and Phonte. It’s somehow more lush and downcast than 2008’s Leave It All Behind, frequently dipping into an alluring type of despondent heartache that is improbably soothing. Opening with an eerie intro similar to that of the Grammy-nominated “Daykeeper,” Authenticity promptly gets to the black heart of the matter: “Loved you good, and you wrote our heartbreak in the sky.” Phonte, whose singing voice is equally resigned and penetrating, lets loose a torrent of Hear, My Dear-worthy bombs, like “Love is at worst an excuse/At best it’s a truce/So what is the use?” The song’s tremulous, synthesizer-laced production would have fit on Nicolay’s City Lights, Vol. 2: Shibuya, had Nicolay experienced a crippling loss during the trip that inspired that album. The following slow-motion title track, rhythmically resembling warped Purple Rain-era Prince, furthers the album’s theme of pouring everything into a relationship despite being aware of the futility. Here, Phonte is in full soul-baring confession mode: “She’s all that I could dream, but she tears me apart.” A couple significant songs detour from bad-lover territory, though they could be re-sequenced to seem more like chronological scenes from a relationship in gradual decay. “Maybe She’ll Dream of Me,” sweet and percolating, is a light song in the best sense, but in the context of all the heartache, one gets the overriding notion that it’s more about pursuing something that could only be too good to be true. “Make Me a Fool,” as in “I’m not asking you to be an angel/Just don’t ever make me a fool,” seems to sense the inevitable in spite of its guard dropping. More moody, modern R&B that sounds like nothing else and reveals remarkable depth (there’s even a little well-placed twang and some violin), Authenticity is neither an everyday nor an every-day album, unless playing it is necessary for the sake of convalescence.

Customer Reviews

Let The Healing Begin

I have never written a review on iTunes before, but after downloading this album and listening to it for the past 40 minutes, it is crystal clear that The Foreign Exchange continue to grow and mature as individuals within their music and their personal lives. This album hits entirely too close to home considering I just went through a painful divorce myself, and "Authenticity" is medicine for the soul. It is absolutely delightful and wonderful to know that good music is still being made to fit any emotion that we may endure throughout our everyday lives. It's amazing how much Phonte has grown up from "The Listening" to the production of this album. Simply incredible! Hopefully we continue to support their efforts so that good music will continue to live on forever.

3'S A Charm!

One of the best albums of 2010 for R&B. Why can't they play this on the radio?

FE will never disappoint you

These guys make the type of albums that you can play from start to finish. Almost like a very good book and there albums are the chapters that keep going and keeps getting better everytime they drop..I started listening to this new album early this morning and haven't stop playing it since..every track is dope as always almost too dope that it seems like it's over very fast but still you get great music and at $8 bucks it's a steal..I would have easily payed ten or more cause it's high quality music at it's best.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Raleigh, NC

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Representative of how the Internet can aid in creating music, the Foreign Exchange started when Little Brother rapper Phonte heard a beat on Okayplayer.com by Dutch producer Nicolay and asked if he could lay some vocals over it. Nicolay agreed, and the song "Light It Up" appeared shortly after as the B-side to Little Brother's 2002 single "Whatever You Say." Relying mainly on instant messaging and email, the duo continued to work together, with Nicolay sending beats to Phonte, who would add vocals...
Full Bio
Authenticity, The Foreign Exchange
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