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BLACKsummers'night (2009) [Deluxe Version]

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Album Review

Maxwell spent part of the eight years between his third and fourth studio albums walking the Earth, attempting to experience a life resembling that of a human. One of neo-soul's most visible faces, along with Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo, he had been on the music industry's hamster wheel for most of his twenties and needed some tangible inspiration. At some point he got down to scheming and quite a lot of recording; BLACKsummers'night is the first release of a trilogy, with BlackSUMMERS'night (rooted in gospel, with a twist, apparently) and Blacksummers'NIGHT (promised as a disc of slow jams) to follow. Just as he arrived in 1996, offering an alternate option to the exaggerated masculinity that was dominating contemporary R&B, he returns as the airwaves are stuffed with raging hormones expressed through Auto-Tune. He has made no concessions to them. BLACKsummers'night is all devotion, regret, and heartache, written with Now collaborator Hod David and played by a session band, including a horn section, that sounds closer to a touring band that has been supporting the singer for years. The musicians morph with every shift in emotion through arrangements that are unfailingly exquisite and sensitively nuanced, even when they are briskly played. If the singer got into adventures while he was away, he does not detail them during these 38 unified minutes, but he did go through a serious, failed relationship, just as "Pretty Wings," the album's floating pre-album single, suggested. Like the real-life flip side to Al Green's "Simply Beautiful" — the song Maxwell performed at the 2008 BET Awards, signaling his return — it's catharsis through bittersweet elegance, equal in its enamored resentment ("You toyed with my affliction/Had to fill out my prescription") and remorse ("I came wrong, you were right/Transformed your love into like"). Although the rest of the album leaves plenty of space for the most common form of pleading, the disarming "Fistful of Tears" is as impassioned as the steamiest moments and indicates the complexity of Maxwell's relationship: "'Cause I go insane, crazy sometimes/Trying to keep you from losing your mind/Open your eyes, see what's in front of your face/Save me my fistful of...tears." For all its dimensions and progress, the album is simultaneously designed to ensure that devoted fans will feel the wait was worth it. After all, its opening lines are "Make me crazy, don't speak no sound/I want you to prove it to me in the nude," and they are sung in falsetto. [A CD/DVD edition was also released.]

Customer Reviews

Not Like the Others

I had to take the time to write a review of this album (the first one I have bothered to write). I pre-ordered the Deluxe Version and was not disappointed. If people are looking for the exact same Maxwell that existed eight years ago, then they will be disappointed. This album is by an older, more mature man who sucessfully tackles some of the complexities of life and yet show hope and beauty in all situations. The music moves me. The growth is evident throughout the entire cd and the horn section is sick. I would compare this to D'Angelo's Voodoo on a growth perspective. Many fans want to hear the same thing they originally fell in love with in the same form. Those fans (and I count myself among them) who are willing to embrace the growth an artist goes through and enjoys traveling down that road with the artist will enjoy this trip. Maxwell, you took me on another emotional rollercoaster and I am the better for it. Stay true to your voice!!!! Fans should buy this album immediately. People who are new to Maxwell's music should buy this album immediately. If you don't get it the first time - listen again. Truth has a unique voice and you will all recognize it if you give it a chance.

8 years off , 35 minutes of music , $12.99 Come on we deserve better

Seriously this album is just ok compared to the earlier Maxwell albums. Pretty Wings was an awesome lead single and is by far the best song on the album. If you have your heart set on loving this album and play it for 24 hours straight you will probably learn to love it. But if you just listen to it objectively you will find it pretty mundane and corny at times. I'm hoping this is just the worst of the trilogy sort of like Star Wars the Phantom Menace


I feel like alot of people have become brain washed by all the upbeat tempo songs that don't have any meaning to them...just liking music because the beat is hot and not taking in time to listen to the actual words to see whats really behind the music. Granted this is not the Maxwell that everyone is use too, but at the same time this is the Maxwell that all of us should love. I get it. He is not the same person so his music is not going to be the same but instead of getting thrown off because the music itself doesn't catch you in the first 15 to 30 secs..try listen to what he is trying to convey to you. I am a true Maxwell fan and I'm not going to kiss anyone butt just because of who they do I like this cd vs his others???...not as much but none the less I really do like this cd. I will say that some of the songs (music wise) is not his m/o...but the lyrics.. you can tell that he wants to share with his fans his emotions..just like the "Old Maxwell". I respect that. "Playing Possum", "Fistful of Tears" "Cold"..nice songs..but honestly he did take me by suprise..BUT I WILL NOT SAY THAT THIS CD IS CRAP OR DOWN PLAY HIM..its just something new to embrace...which is a good thing. The cd itself is better than the samples Itunes give. So all and all..Am I glad I spent the 12.99 for the cd??? YES..YES I AM. All I know is that this is Maxwell..and he is back..RESPECT HIS GRIND!!!!


Born: May 23, 1973 in New York, NY [Brooklyn]

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Along with fellow founders D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell was enormously important in defining and shaping the neo-soul movement that rose to prominence over the latter half of the '90s. Drawing his greatest inspiration from the concept of the R&B auteur (looking to artists like Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, etc.), Maxwell recorded some of the most ambitious R&B of his time, becoming wildly popular and often earning critical raves in the process. What was more, his recurring theme of romantic...
Full Bio
BLACKsummers'night (2009) [Deluxe Version], Maxwell
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Customer Ratings


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