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Joe - "Joe Thomas, New Man"

Smooth & Seductive

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

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Joe -
Image © Kedar Entertainment.
Joe Thomas, or just Joe, if you prefer - is one of the smoothest, most consistent dudes in R&B. While some other singers try to stay on top of trends and reinvent themselves every third year in a bid to stay relevant in an ever-changing music world, Joe has somehow managed to stay popular without radically switching up his style. And although his latest album is called Joe Thomas, New Man, this is for the most part the same singer whose music women have gone wild over for more than a decade. What's different though, is that Joe sounds rejuvenated on this album, which is his first since he left Jive Records.

Love & Relationships

Joe Thomas, New Man, released in the U.S. on Sept. 23, 2008, is Joe's seventh album, and first for the Kedar Entertainment label after an 11 year stint with Jive Records. And this new beginning is partially where the album gets its title. Despite that though, New Man is pretty much what you've come to expect from Joe: sweetly sung and seductive songs about love and relationships. And like other songs on his previous albums, Joe uses metaphors to weave compelling stories. On this album, examples include the opening song, "E.R. (Emergency Room)," on which he compares his lover to a doctor and himself to a patient: "I'm kinda hot, know my spot, to diagnose me you don't need no chart ... I need mouth-to-mouth, you feel me?"

He continues the seduction throughout the album, most successfully on the uptempo single "Why Just Be Friends," on which he sexily coos to a female acquaintance that they should get to know each other much better. "Stop, drop your fears baby come get with me, give me your tears, I got the remedy, take down your shield I'm not the enemy, I just wanna be the only one to make you happy," he sings. And on the following song, "We Need To Roll," he keeps the seduction theme going by singing about meeting a woman at a club, and after a few drinks, trying to talk her into going somewhere more private: "Let me hit this last sip of patron - ah! - and it's on," he sings. "Let's not lose this alcohol influence, yes, I want you oh so bad, No more fakin', just keep drinkin,' stop the talkin,' get to walkin'." Not too smooth, but he makes it work for him.

No Reinventions

Image © Kedar Entertainment.
Despite the verbally forceful "We Need To Roll," Joe's smooth, good guy persona is totally in effect on other songs on the album, including the self-explanatory "I Won't Let Him Hurt You," the blossoming love jam "New Man," and "Start Over Again," a ballad about not wanting to give up on a relationship, even when things take a bad turn: "Baby if you hold onto to me you'll see we can make things right if you help me fight, I could be wrong but I'll take that chance 'cause I think it's worth it."

If there's anything that detracts from the album, it's that some of the songs are cliched and don't put a new spin on old topics, such as the baby-I-know-I-messed-up-but-now-I'm-asking-for-forgiveness ballad "Sorry" and the I want-you-back track "By Any Means." To be honest, there's not a whole lot of new ground covered on the album, but as mentioned above Joe's the type of artist who doesn't need to reinvent himself to be or stay successful.

Tucked away at the end of the album are snippets of five songs from his next album, Signature, which, when its released sometime in 2009, will be his third album in three years. The snippets, all of which are just under a minute-and-a-half in length, all sound great - better than a couple of the 11 full songs on New Man, in fact. Using the snippets is a great marketing tool, but at the same time, it makes you wonder if maybe he should have combined the best songs from the two albums into just one long album, instead of breaking it up into two releases.

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