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Album Review: Anthony David - 'As Above, So Below'

Deeply Soulful

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

Album Review: Anthony David - 'As Above, So Below'
© E1 Music.
For years, R&B/Soul singer Anthony David has been one of the most underappreciated singers in music, and his fourth album, As Above, So Below, isn't likely to change his underdog status. But what the album does do though, is cement his name as one of the more deeply soulful, thought provoking and cerebral vocalists around. As Above, which was released in the U.S. on March 22, 2011, is many things, including placid, uplifting and well sung. It's one big drawback however, is that sometimes it's more laid back and low-key than his brilliant previous album, 2008's Acey Duecy.

Messages in the Music

There's an old saying that still waters run deep, and Anthony David's As Above, So Below proves that the expression can apply to music too. That's because the album is a mostly calm and laid on the surface, but once you get deep into it, you see that despite Anthony's placid exterior lie some very deep, turbulent lyrics and song concepts that are the opposite of his smooth vocal style.

The most significant example of this is the fifth song, "God Says." Judging by the title, semi-Gospel tone and religion-tinged chorus -- "You can put the blame on me, I'm doin' what God says, what God says" -- you'd think that this was an ode to the Lord. But in listening to the full song, it becomes obvious that's it's a condemnation of modern day false prophets who make controversial statements -- like calling for President Obama's death -- then saying that such statements were God's word, not theirs. Another song where the surface is only scratched in the chorus is "Girlfriend," where a man out at a club denies his interest in a woman: "I don't like you (I got a girlfriend), I don't want you (I got a girlfriend), get away from me." But it becomes obvious during the song that his denials are hollow and that he's actually trying to convince himself not to stray.

It's not all religion and politics, though; there's some light and airy material too, like the first single, "4evermore," which features singer Algebra Blesset and rapper Phonte, and happens to be the album's best song. But the majority of songs are R&B for mature, thinking people who don't mind a few messages in their music.

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