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Gerald Levert - "In My Songs"

The Music Lives On

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Gerald Levert -

Album cover © Atlantic Records

In November 2006, Gerald Levert, the husky R&B singer nicknamed "Teddy Bear," died of a heart attack at his home in Ohio. Before his sudden death at the age of 40, Levert had just finished work on his latest album, In My Songs. And now, three months after his death, that album has been released. The verdict? This album is one of Gerald's better efforts as a solo artists since his peak in the late 1980s and early '90s. If this is the last album of all-new material by Levert ever released, it will serve as a fitting testimony to his talent for songwriting, incredible vocal power and lush, passionate singing.

Vibrant, Full of Life

On the opening song/title track of In My Songs, Gerald Levert's first (but probably not last) posthumous album, the Teddy Bear sings about how, even though he's known for his love songs, he doesn't have a love of his own: "You see, every night on my knees I pray 'send her to me.' ... See, I ain't been perfect, in fact, I've been dead wrong; but it's time for me to live out the love that I sing about in my songs."

Gerald goes on to sing about how he wants to get married to one of his songs and have the first dance to be one of his songs. Like many tracks on the album, the lyrics take on more meaning due to Levert's death; even though "In My Words" has a fairly uptempo backing track, there's an undercurrent of sadness when you remember that Gerald never found his true love before he died.

Among the other standout tracks are the "grown and sexy" dance jam "DJ Don't," in which Gerald goes out to a dance club on a Friday and asks the DJ not to play any slow songs; "Deep As It Goes," a sex song meant to be taken both literally and metaphorically; and "Wanna Get Up with You," an uptempo number in which Gerald tests his mack game on a sexy woman.

This is an album in which many of the songs are very upbeat, very vibrant and full of life. That liveliness serves as a reminder that although Gerald's no longer with the living, life goes on. By many accounts, Gerald lived life to the fullest, and this album is not only a perfect testament to that, but also to his shining talent. If he had known this was to be his last album, Gerald Levert probably would have been very proud.

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