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Open Book

Jay King

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Album Review

Many R&B historians have denounced the 1980s as the decade in which R&B went way downhill and lost much of the creative momentum it had enjoyed in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s; hip-hop, those historians argue, is where the real action was during the Ronald Reagan/George H.W. Bush years. But despite all the schlock and drivel that came out of 1980s R&B, there were some great moments as well; Prince, Michael Jackson, Teena Marie, Alexander O'Neal, Morris Day, Bobby Brown, and Luther Vandross did some of their best work in the 1980s. And for a few years, producer/singer Jay King did his part to shake things up — first with Timex Social Club, then with Club Nouveau. The outspoken King wasn't afraid to record some sociopolitical songs, and both groups brought a lot of hip-hop edginess to R&B at a time when most urban radio programmers still wouldn't touch hardcore rap. Fast forward to the late 2000s; King is recording as a solo artist, and he shows a very introspective side of himself on his solo album Open Book. This 45-minute CD may come as a surprise to those who remember King for "Rumors" or his hip-hop-drenched remake of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me"; his performances are much more subdued on reflective tracks like "Can't Let You Go," "What Do You Want from Me," and "I Would Die for You" (not to be confused with Prince's 1984 hit). There are no aggressive, hip-hop-minded electro-funk jams on Open Book, and nothing on this release comes even close to party music; instead, the ambience is much closer to Vandross, Freddie Jackson, and Will Downing, but with a lot more introspection. Open Book is consistently personal-sounding, and even though the material is surprisingly subtle and understated, King conveys what he needs to convey emotionally. Open Book won't go down in history as his most essential project, but it's respectable and honest — and it's good to see King continuing to record long after the 1980s.

Customer Reviews

Luvin it!!

I have to say that I did say that it was going to be great and believed in the album from the get go and know that it was going to be and sound amazing... You are an amazing writier and wish the best of luck in the world and know that it will be a hit! love u Jay King!!


Not to be missed. A sure fire evening of pure music enjoyment!

Great cd

Reminds me of a male Sade,
Smooth vocals awesome writing. It's refreshing there is still good music being made juxtapose to the crap on the radio/videos. Can't wait to hear more in the future.

Open Book, Jay King
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings