Jamie Lidell "Jamie Lidell" reviewed

2/26/13
5.5ARTIST INFO

The first question everyone should be asking about Jamie Lidell's self-titled fifth studio album is why he waited so long to use the self-titling gimmick.  In reading the last sentence you've probably already come up with the correct answer for said question: This is a reboot.  Yup...

Fresh off exploring his inner-Joseph Arthur on "Compass," Lidell is back to his old neo-soul tricks on this new record. He lets you know that right from the jump with the one-two punch of "I'm Selfish" and "Big Love," a couple of bombastic tracks that highlight just about everything Lidell does well, from the groovy dance beats down to the self-deprecating lyrics:

He dabbles in some dubstep, just to show everyone he could still be relevant if he so wished.

Lidell tries his hand at several genres other than dub on this record, not that this should surprise anyone familiar with his work. At his best (and incidentally also his worst), the British producer writes songs that span across all manners of music and cannot be confined to a single category.

When he does it right, he creates songs that act as stately soundscapes in which the boundaries between genres melt away. A perfect example is this record's best cut, "why_ya_why," which sounds like a lovechild of "Minnie the Moocher" and "The Whole World."

Unfortunately the flip side of this is a track like "So Cold," which seems so focused on trying to be everything that it ends up being nothing at all. (Well, technically it is something. In this case a boring, uneven song.)

Jamie Lidell isn't so much a return to form for Lidell (I mean, some of us actually liked "Compass") as it is a continuation of what came before: An uneven, though certainly unoffensive, genre-sprawling music that occasionally produces moments of genius.

At this point in his career, Lidell is what he is. And no image-makeover or album naming gimmick will fix that.

Sorry Jim, that's just the way it is.  I want to love you ... but ... to use your own phrasing: "You Naked."

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