Usually, I would ignore Musiq. When I first heard his debut single "Just Friends" from the Nutty Professor soundtrack, I was somewhat interested in him, but quickly grew bored after I noticed that all of his songs sounded exactly the same. Since then, the only other song of his that held any of my attention was "Love," and that came out when I was in, like, middle school. Fast forward awhile, and OnMyRadio is on its way toward becoming one of my favorite albums of the past few years.
What I disliked the most about Musiq in the past was his indifference to actually singing. For the better part of his career, or at least the stuff I've listened to, he's taken more of a spoken word approach toward his material, where he sort of sings during the hook and adlibs, but is lazy during the verses. That annoyed me almost as much as that thing Mariah Carey sometimes does with her voice (you know, kinda raspy and wavering,then soaring, and then back to strained a la "Through The Rain"...), so I more or less left him alone. Who knew the kid could sing?..and consistently no less.
What..everyone knew that? Oh..well who knew he could sing decent material.
In fact, OnMyRadio is full of better than decent material. That includes the embarrassingly commercial first single, "Radio," which isn't nearly as lyrically engaging as the rest of the album's material, but still serves its purpose as a mindless change of pace for the otherwise predictable artist. And while most listeners will cite Musiq's duet with Mary J. Blige, "IfULeave," as the album's standout track, I much prefer the mockingly remorseful "DearJohn." The song's title is simultaneously self-explanatory and surprising, as Musiq delivers the most heartfelt of casual breakups possible; and just when you're ready to call him out on his cowardice, he beats you to the punch, pretty much conceding that he's an asshole before you even suggest it. Another potential single, "BackAgain," accomplishes what "Radio" doesn't, in terms of balancing mainstream appeal with substantive material, and is probably the most refreshing song Musiq has recorded since his debut.
There isn't a bad song on OnMyRadio, which means that I'm either being too lenient in response to my surprise at being even a little bit impressed with the album, or it's just that good. I honestly couldn't tell you which it is, but I'm leaning toward the latter.
In other news, I miss Maxwell.