K-Ci and JoJo - My Brother's Keeper
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Because K-Ci and JoJo know their lane and don't try performing stunts and tricks outside of it, the CD offers a satisfying---if not spectacular---assortment of adult-contemporary and modern soul, with a few touches of hip-hop to spice it up. The bluesy, shuffling "Somebody Please" hearkens right back to the 1994 Bobby Womack remake, notes scraped from K-Ci's gut as he begs somebody---anybody---to help him understand why his love his gone and how he can bring her back to the crib. "Say Hello To Goodbye" is a delicate midtempo with JoJo at the helm, sung with an understated resolve about too little appreciation and too little love: "I'm sayin' hello to goodbye, I don't wanna hurt no more....I cried my very last cry, I tried for the very last time, so I'm saying goodbye."
The most impressive moments are the ones showing the most growth: The title track is the best, with Big Brother K-Ci and Lil' Brother JoJo singing heartily of their triumphs and trials while thanking their parents for life, lessons and even 'the whoopings' that made them the men they are today: "We done heard it, we done seen it, we done done it all/ baby mama drama, rehab life on the reality show. Between money and the fame, women and the game/how we still here only God knows." The title "Middle of The Night" sounds like an assignation for an evening 'creep' or an all-out raunchfest, but it's actually reminiscing about how he and his lady got some good loving in after grown-folks' responsibilities are handled: "She said 'Baby, did you make sure the kids are asleep?'/I said 'Baby, yes I did, so you can scream. Loud as you want to...."
Some songs fall flat here and there ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is on the listless side, while "Knock It Off" and "Lay You Down" try to be sexy, but the disembodied "chopped and screwed" vocals in the chorus come off as sinister instead), but fans of the brothers and the band will find that My Brother's Keeper accomplishes two feats: reminding them of the brothers' impactful start and a future, with or without Jodeci, that is certainly worth some extra moments back on center stage. Recommended.
By Melody Charles