Maysa: Blue Velvet Soul

16 Sep

Blue Velvet Soul

The thing about soul is that it’s hard to pin down. It’s not as simple as identifying a sound or working off lyrics, it is actually a question of soul and that’s a hard quality to define. It is a quality that Blue Velvet Soul, the latest album by Baltimore native Maysa, has in spades however.

This album serves mostly as a showcase for Maysa’s voice, which is nothing short of gorgeous. She has a very powerful voice that works wonderfully over some very nice smooth jazz arrangements. Cuts like Quiet Fire are simultaneously soothing and uplifting. This album is the aural equivalent of a warm bath.

She does manage a very diverse set of songs with strains of jazz, disco, funk and even a little rap interlaced in the R&B. However, the album as a whole lacks challenge. This is pleasant, but not particularly stimulating. The lyrics also tend toward cliche when not meaningless. The intention was probably never to send you into innovative thought spirals, but the fact that this music is so easily digested makes it very hard for it to create a lasting impression.

This is a very fine album, just not a classic. For soul fans, this album will see regular rotation and it is worth a listen even if you don’t normally follow R&B, but it lacks the inspiration to take it from quiet to fire.

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