Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SHAI-Blackface (1995)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 23, 2014

I think I have 'shai-ed' away from this D.C.-based new jack swing troupe for far too long! I have a fond memory of being turned on to SHAI the moment my ears tuned in to their memorable hit, "Mr. Turn U Out". It easily could qualify as your next 'Slow Jam Of The Night', given the group's silky smooth vocals, particularly the guy in the group who's got that nice deep bass going on. But there's so many great slow jams here on their fourth studio album that you can't love just one of them! Prepare to be seduced by the mood-setting opener, "Come With Me", followed by the romantically uplifting "During The Storm", where they promise to be with the woman they love through every trouble and trial that comes their way (the harmonizing in the acapella intro is so exquisite!). Then right after the words of wisdom in the poetic reading of "Concert A (The Hidden One)" give you something to ponder, you're seduced again when you fall into the beauty that is Track #6's "Falling". It's got just the right amount of delicate piano and light jazz to really set the romantic ambiance! But the guys don't always have to seduce you in order to dazzle you; a dazzling showcase of the group's vocal artistry is presented on the concluding cut, "If I Gave (A Confession Of Hope)", where they show off their talent for bringing it to you acapella style. Nor do the tunes themselves have to be on the slow and easy side to get you into the r&b spirit. Take in the album's upbeat jams like "Did You Know?", "To Get To Know You", "Will I Find Someone?" and my personal favorite, "95", which I like especially for its old-school groove and its down-to-earth, these-are-the-signs-of-the-times theme going on in the colorful lyrics (yet another song to add to my growing catalog of 'music to untie the people'). So don't be shy; give SHAI a try, and enjoy getting acquainted with one of the most colorful faces of the new jack swing era:

1. Come With Me
2. During The Storm
3. I Don't Wanna Be Alone
4. Mr. Turn U Out
5. Concert A (The Hidden One)
6. Falling
7. Planet Solitude
8. Did You Know?
9. To Get To Know You
10. Let's Go Back
11. Will I Find Someone?
12. "95"
13. The Place Where You Belong
14. If I Gave (A Confession Of Hope)

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