Chazz Dixon - Emotional Therapy

Chazz Dixon
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There are advantages to sounding like a legendary singer such as Smokey Robinson. The primary advantage is that means you can sing, and Chazz Dixon can really sing. A disadvantage is that folks may expect you be a wedding singer who specializes in singing “Tears of a Clown” and “Quiet Storm.” Another disadvantage is that such a singer must be able to distinguish himself while also knowing how to embrace the similarities in sound. I felt that Dixon’s previous release, Love Notes, suffered from the latter problem.

There are advantages to sounding like a legendary singer such as Smokey Robinson. The primary advantage is that means you can sing, and Chazz Dixon can really sing. A disadvantage is that folks may expect you be a wedding singer who specializes in singing “Tears of a Clown” and “Quiet Storm.” Another disadvantage is that such a singer must be able to distinguish himself while also knowing how to embrace the similarities in sound. I felt that Dixon’s previous release, Love Notes, suffered from the latter problem.

Dixon is out with a new album, Emotional Therapy, and he seems to largely have solved that riddle. Look, you sound how you sound, so trying to remove the Smokey is likely going to be more trouble than it’s worth. Besides, Dixon is an excellent singer. What distinguishes Emotional Therapy from the previous release is that Dixon manages to embrace the aspects of Robinson’s artistry that all performers should seek to embrace – namely the quality of the songwriting.

Ballads on Emotional Therapy such as “I Fan See You” and “Give a Man a Chance” are very strong lyrically. Dixon employs a Caribbean dancehall beat on
“I Fan See You” to tell a story of how he is totally smitten by the object of his desire. On the cut “Give a Man a Chance,” Dixon adopts a conversational tone as he explains the physical and emotional qualities that draw him to this particular lady and why she should let down her guard and “Give a Man a Chance.”

Dixon also proves to be a pretty good interpreter of up-tempo dance music. Robinson sang his share of fast songs, but his stock in trade was the ballad. Dance numbers such as “Spinning for Love” serve as chances for Dixon to distinguish himself. The track sports a percussive beat that fuses funk with dance music. Thematically, the track tells the story of how love can bring joy and pain.

Dixon went to the drawing board and returns with a record that embraces the entirety of his musical identity. Emotional Therapy is classic in its lyricism and its exploration of the topic of love. The record is also forward looking in its use of modern production techniques. In this way, Emotional Therapy pays honor to Robinson and all of the love men who influenced Dixon while not sounding dated and derivative. That kind of creativity stands as Dixon’s main tribute to Robinson.

Notable tracks: Damaged, Stop the Rain, Can’t Let You Get Away, Give a Man a Chance

Vocals: 3.5
Lyrics: 3.0
Instrumental: 3.0
Production: 3.0
Soultracks call: Recommended

 

 
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