Donell Jones - The Lost Files (2009)

Donell Jones
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Two songs on Where I Wanna Be, Donell Jones' second album, tell the listener a great deal about the Chicago based singer's career. With it's street-wise swagger, hip-hop influenced beats and catchy hook, "You Know What's Up," is a song that set the path for the future of R&B music when it dropped in late 1999. The title track is a straightforward love ballad that fused a classic soul lyrical and vocal phrasing with modern production techniques, which made "Where I Wanna Be" a neo-soul song. Jones, who is planning to release an album of new material in 2010, opened up the vault with 2009's The Lost Files, a record where neo-soul lyricist and the street-wise dandy co-exist somewhat unevenly. The first half of the record features Jones as the crooning, neo-soul storyteller. On "Superman," Jones vents his frustration over a woman who expects too much and appreciates too little.

Two songs on Where I Wanna Be, Donell Jones' second album, tell the listener a great deal about the Chicago based singer's career. With it's street-wise swagger, hip-hop influenced beats and catchy hook, "You Know What's Up," is a song that set the path for the future of R&B music when it dropped in late 1999. The title track is a straightforward love ballad that fused a classic soul lyrical and vocal phrasing with modern production techniques, which made "Where I Wanna Be" a neo-soul song. Jones, who is planning to release an album of new material in 2010, opened up the vault with 2009's The Lost Files, a record where neo-soul lyricist and the street-wise dandy co-exist somewhat unevenly. The first half of the record features Jones as the crooning, neo-soul storyteller. On "Superman," Jones vents his frustration over a woman who expects too much and appreciates too little. "Badboy" is a mid-tempo acoustic soul head nodder in which Jones gives voice to his struggles to overcome his naughty nature in order to a good man to the woman he loves. "Sergeant Louise," the album's best song, tells the story of a woman cop Jones meets when his bad boy nature gets him in trouble.

The second half of the record doesn't work nearly as well. While there are plenty of songs that stack up nicely to "Where I Wanna Be" in terms of lyrical content and storytelling, nothing in the second half can match up to "You Know What's Up" in terms of coming up with a memorable hook or beats that give listeners a joyous celebration of life on the streets on a summer day.

Notable Tracks: Sergeant Louise, Marry Me, Badboy

Vocals: 3.0 stars
Lyrics: 2.5 stars
Music: 2.5 stars
Production: 2.5 stars
SoulTracks call: Moderately recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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