With all due respect to Freddie Jackson, the man hasn't been at the peak of his popularity since the 1980s, and he hasn't truly been a relevant artist since the 1990s. So that makes it even more of a surprise that his latest all-new album, For You, is so on point and pleasing to the ear. Freddie may have gradually faded from the public's memory after his two biggest hits, "Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)" and "You Are My Lady" a quarter of a century ago, but on For You, Freddie proves he's still a strong, smooth voice to be reckoned with.
One of the more impressive things about For You
is that the 54-year-old Freddie acts his age. Unlike some of other aging male singers who've used gimmicks to update their images (Ronald Isley's "Mr. Biggs" character and Charlie Wilson's "Uncle Charlie" persona come to mind), Freddie instead relies on his smooth voice for the most part, and lets everything take care of itself. There are few things more sad than older folks trying to act young and hip, and although Freddie updates his lingo on the song "Rumors" and the album's first single, "I Don't Wanna Go," ("Gotta get up in the mornin,' keep my pockets swole" is one example) he doesn't embarrass or make a fool out of himself. Instead, he maintains a smooth, dignified persona throughout For You
as he sings about topics like managing to stay in love with your partner through the years ("After All This Time"), lust and longing ("A Little Taste") and temporarily setting aside the responsibilities of life to have some fun ("Slow Dance)."
Impressively, Freddie sounds just as smooth here as he did back in his heyday; his voice is still seductive, but also still strong. And fortunately, the musical flourishes are kept to a minimum. This is a straight ahead romantic R&B album without any Auto-Tune or any other heavy-handed techniques that sometimes hurt songs by overpowering the vocals. For You is a solid album from top to bottom; not only are all 12 of its songs listenable, but there's no variance in quality between them. Overall, this is a very solid album that most fans of Freddie's earlier work would likely appreciate.