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Ain't Nothin' Like Me

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Album Review

Can you think of many R&B artists who first appeared during the new jack swing era and continued to release good, up-to-date albums on a major label throughout the first decade of the 21st century? You probably cannot. If you can, Joe is likely near or at the top of that list. His sixth album — which went through a number of titles and projected release dates until it landed in April 2007 as Ain't Nothin' Like Me — is up to the standard of 1997's All That I Am and 2000's My Name Is Joe. Contemporary as ever, Joe seeks production and songwriting assistance from a number of ubiquitous heavyweights and up-and-comers, including the perpetually on-the-rise Tim & Bob (who first worked with Joe on 2000's "So Beautiful"), hot Norwegian team Stargate (Ne-Yo's "So Sick," Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable"), Sean Garrett, Bryan-Michael Cox, Johnta Austin, the Underdogs, and Cool & Dre. A handful of tracks aren't all that necessary, but if you were to trim the sequence down to ten or so, you'd have a 40-minute album that is not too far from faultless. The Tim & Bob, Stargate, and Sean Garrett productions complement each other well, especially within the album's opening four-song stretch. Beats dance and skip, supported by simple and roomy but effectively layered ornamentation — music box-like melodies, floating synthesizer accents — that is never laid on too thick. They're ideal for a nuanced vocalist like Joe, who can affect desire, pain, and devotion with the slightest of adjustments. From there, the quality level fluctuates, and there are too many ballads, but "Let's Just Do It" (another spacious, midtempo glider) and "Just Relax" (where Joe and Cool & Dre jack A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation" and sidestep corniness) are two other standouts. While a very basic name, a lack of flashiness, and sizeable gaps of inactivity have only gotten in the way of his popularity, Joe has maintained relevant and reliable since he debuted.

Customer Reviews

For tha Ladies

This is Joe's fifth album and it sounds great, very melodic, mature and smooth. I would like to see him come outside of his comfort zone though, like he did with his third & forth albums. I know if you’re a true Joe fan you'll be more than happy with his new album and if your listening for the first time (after living under a rock) I hope you'll be a fan from now on. "Ain't Nothin' Like Me" is a must have!!

A bit of a different sound, but it works well for him.

Well, much like Donell Jones and Brian Mcknight, Joe has brought in some hip hop producers for his latest album. Like the other artists, it results in a bit of a different style than what one may be used to from the artists preceeding work, but it works. The songs are more upbeat than what Joe has been about it in the past, but he still sticks to his guns lyrically, staying within the realm of sensual romance. Vocally, Joe is like a fine wine, so to speak, as he's continually gotten smoother, with more range, and a stronger voice allowing him to really belt it out better than he did in his earlier years. Its a bit off topic, but I'd love to hear him re-record some earlier hits like "What your man won't do" or "So Beautiful"(one of the greatest songs in the history of r&b music), with his improved voice. Honestly, I think this album would appeal to a lot of people that are more into hip hop, and were always a little on the fence about r&b. Because of that, some of Joe's longtime fans may feel a slight bit betrayed by the difference in style. I'll say it again, its a stylistic deviation, but I wouldn't dare call it a step back. For me, the highlights of the album would be the opening track, "Get to know me," track #5 "My love," and track #13 "You should know me." The latter has a very retro sound that sorta reminds me of R. Kelly's early work, and maybe a bit reminiscent of Montell Jordan's finer stuff. While the album is riddled with good songs, I was a bit irritated that they sampled a bit of Boyz II Men's "I do" on the opening of "Love is just a game," but it doesn't ruin the album, and that song was more or less forgettable. All in all, its another good album from Joe that you can't go wrong with. If you're a fan of good r&b music, you should have this album in your collection. Enjoy.

Getting REALLY tired of all the boasting

"Ain't Nothin' Like Me" is just another in an endless stream of boasting, arrogance, and ego that's been dominating R&B/Rap music for years now. How much longer do we have to listen to these guys sing about how great they are? How much longer do YOU want to listen to that? Well, maybe you could DO something about it, like stop buying these records. Personally I'm tired of this crap, give me something with some SUBSTANCE to it, not just morons babbling on and on about how amazing they *think* they are.

Biography

Born: July 5, 1973 in Columbus, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Joe is an accomplished vocalist of smooth and sultry R&B productions with occasional hip-hop beats, and his extensive background in gospel music has allowed him to produce his albums as well as sing on them. A native of Georgia, Joe later moved to Opelika, Alabama; since he was the son of two preachers, he spent much time in church singing, playing guitar, and even directing the choir. Influenced early on by gospel stars like the Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Joe grew to love...
Full Bio
Ain't Nothin' Like Me, Joe
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