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Album Review: Kevin Michael - "Kevin Michael"

Organically Overproduced

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Album Review: Kevin Michael -

Album cover © Downtown/Atlantic Records.

For some singers, bigger is better when it comes to production, but in the case of Soul/R&B singer Kevin Michael and his self-titled debut album, less is definitely more. Kevin has a melodic, yet soft voice that tends to get swallowed by the music on some of the album's songs. But on other tracks, particularly the acoustic numbers that aren't oversaturated with guest performers or overproduction, Kevin shines. His singing isn't perfect - it's still very much a work in progress - but he shows enough potential to be designated a rising star and someone to keep an eye on.

Not Enough Cohesion

If you've heard either of the first two singles off of Kevin Michael's debut album, "We All Want the Same Thing," (featuring Lupe Fiasco) and the racial unity anthem "It Don't Make Any Difference to Me," (featuring Wyclef Jean) then you know that Kevin has a lot to offer as a singer and a songwriter. But here's the thing: tucked away at the end of the album are an acoustic version of "We All Want the Same Thing," as well as an acoustic recording of "It Don't Make Any Difference to Me." And those versions are easily the two best songs on the album.

And the reason for this is that Kevin has the sound and spirit of an indie artist. And when layers of production and other performers are added to the album, they take away somewhat from the purity of the music. A perfect example is the overproduced track "Can't Get Enuff," a song about a hot woman featuring rapper Shorty Da Kid. Overall, there's not enough cohesion between the singer's voice and the backing instrumentation, part of which is the fault of Kevin himself, whose voice is higher and softer than your typical Soul singer, but more soulful than your average R&B or pop singer.

Among the songs that do work are the ones tucked away on the second half of the album, including soaring midtempo love song 'Ain't Got You," the fast-n-funky "Stone Cold Killa" and the sexual, Prince-soundalike track "Liquid Lava Love." If the album's executive producers had been more concerned with creating songs that enhance the singer's talent instead of bombarding the listener with overproduced sounds, this could have been a much better album.

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