Gerald Levert (Elektra)
If male R&B stars were cars, then Gerald Levert would likely be an Army jeep. Sturdy. Reliable. Good on gas and able to get the job done without breaking down. Unlike some of his flashier brethren, Gerald (or the titular "G" for short) is a no-nonsense, no-frills, gut-busting shouter. With a voice made up of equal parts church and chitlins, the son of the O'Jays' Eddie Levert has made a career out of playing the role of the romantic victim. In his world women are always leaving, taking his children, maxing out his credit cards or, as he bemoans in his current hit "Mr. Too Damn Good," acting unworthy of his own unwavering and impassioned love. The wounded-Romeo riff has served the 33-year-old Cleveland native well on three previous albums. Here, though the production of these 13 she-done-me-wrong songs is taut and tense throughout, Levert's hard-luck formula wears a bit thin. Luckily the power and emotion of his lived-in baritone saves G from being formulaic.
Bottom Line: Stellar singer, so-so songs
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