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Various Artists - 'Think Like a Man: Music From & Inspired by the Film'

A Quality Production

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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The film Think Like a Man doesn't come out until 10 days after the soundtrack, so it remains to be seen if the film's a quality production. But if it's on the same level as the soundtrack, then it should be pretty good. The soundtrack, which was released April 10, 2012, is chock full of good new and classic songs by both established and younger R&B artists, including Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kelly Rowland and Marcus Canty. In fact, seeing the movie isn't a prerequisite for enjoying the music; the soundtrack doesn't have any snippets of dialogue from the movie or character voiceovers, or any other audio tie-ins. And judged on it's own merits, the Think Like a Man album is one of the better urban film soundtracks in years.

Telling Stories

The highlight to the Think Like a Man soundtrack, without a doubt, is the movie's title song, a hip-hop/R&B collaboration between singers Jennifer Hudson and Ne-Yo with the rapper Rick Ross. Although the men do a fine job here, this battle of the sexes jam is definitely won by J-Hud, who shows that she's right up there at the top of the urban music game when it comes to vocal strength, clarity and power right now, second only to maybe Mary J. Blige. The other two outstanding songs here are also brand new tracks recorded for the movie: the sexually-charged "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)," by John Legend, featuring Ludacris; and surprisingly, a song by a relative newcomer: "Won't Make a Fool Out of You," by Marcus Canty, who up to this point has been best known as a competitor on 2011's debut season of the American version of the reality singing show "X-Factor." All three of the aforementioned songs tell stories in various ways that advance the movie's overall story, but can also be enjoyed independently of the film.

Classic to Contemporary

Aside from those three songs, the soundtrack's new material varies a little in quality, but among the better tracks is the laid back, sensual "Baby Be Mine" by electronic Soul duo Quadron; and the sex tape ode/stripper anthem "Motion Picture," by hip-hop artist The Future. The album's rounded out by a couple of classics, Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's the Way of the World" and Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much," both of which serve as a bridge from classic to contemporary R&B. Maybye the only disappointment among the 12 songs here is "Freedom Ride," which fully exposes Keri Hilson's voice as the thin, underdeveloped instrument it is.
With or without seeing the movie, the soundtrack to Think Like a Man, which is based on the book "Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man," by actor-comedian Steve Harvey, is worth your while. Although not every song is a home run, there's enough quality material here to merit repeat listening.
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