Al Jarreau – Love Songs

Al Jarreau – Love Songs / 2008 Rhino / 14 Tracks / / /

Al Jarreau has been around for a long period of time. While individuals that are in to contemporary music may remember eir duet with Paris Bennett during the 5th season of American Idol, Jarreau made a name for eirself through eir 1981 hit “We’re in this Love Together” as well as being a major player in the vocals laid down for “We Are The World”. From eir 1965 debut (“1965”) to 2006’s “Givin’ It Up” (which featured George Benson), Jarreau has been a major player on the R&B and jazz charts. It has been about 15 years since Jarreau has cut a traditional single (eir last was 1992’s “It’s Not Hard To Love You”, which made it up to #36 on the R&B charts), but “Love Songs” is something that shows off both single and album-oriented sides of Jarreau.

This hand-picked selection of love songs is something that outstrips many other Valentine’s Day-oriented albums in that Jarreau does not pick only the sappiest and most vapid of eir compositions, but rather weaves together a tremendous narrative that speaks of love, loss, and any other of a myriad of different love-related emotions. Two tracks are featured from what was arguably Jarreau’s biggest album – “Teach Me Tonight” as well as “We’re in this Love Together” from “Breakin’ Away”. Of particular strength during the latter half of “Love Songs” has to be “Goodhands Tonight”, which features Jarreau along with George Benson and Patti Austin. After releasing so many albums over the space of forty-plus years, it becomes a Sisyphean chore to pick out songs that fit well together as well as contribute to the overall theme of the disc.

Al Jarreau does that perfectly during “Love Songs”, and while there is not much in the way of bonus material in this disc, the album’s allure is in the fact that the tracks all talk together in a way that the original context of the tracks would not allow. While Jarreau has been around for a tremendous amount of time, the songs committed to “Love Songs” show a vitality to Jarreau’s style that, whether pulled from 1979 or 1996, does not diminish in the slightest. Pick up “Love Songs”, pick up any following albums that Jarreau may release, and sail away on Jarreau’s unique blend of R&B, jazz, and countless other genres and styles.

Top Tracks: Your Song, Secrets of Love

Rating: 6.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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