Eric Benet - Love & Life

Eric Benet
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"I believe in the power inside of my heart. God is the source from whom we're never apart. No challenge too greater, no cause too small. This infinite love is inside of us all."

"I believe in the power inside of my heart. God is the source from whom we're never apart. No challenge too greater, no cause too small. This infinite love is inside of us all."

With this message -- in perfect harmony and without accompaniment -- Eric Benet opens his fourth solo effort, Love & Life. It's a clear cut statement about the true power of divine love through the journey of life. The past five years has been a whirlwind of sorts for the formerly-barefoot performer (Eric no longer feels the need to perform shoeless). Eric has endured the aftermath of his failed marriage to Academy-Award-winner Halle Berry, which served as inspiration for his previous album Hurricane released in 2005. He's not quite the man he used to be on A Day In The Life, which spawned the monster wedding anthem "Spend My Life With You" (featuring the talented songstress Tamia). Love & Life is about a celebration. Despite the trials and tribulations of his personal life, Eric Benet has simply not forfeited his "spiritual thang."

The lead single, "You're The Only One," is a tremendous representation of Love & Life. Very few songs in this modern era offer such a distinctive intro as does "You're The Only One." The listener can't help but take notice to the sounds of a classic tune in the musical vein of a Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder. Other precious gems include the funky "Iminluvwichoo," the sweet love ballad "Everlove" and the oh-so-rich "Chocolate Legs."

After three full-length studio projects, Warner Bros. Records gave Eric complete creative control on Love & Life for the first time in his recording career. The result is a lively and honest collection of songs. Perhaps the most honest cut on Love & Life is the headstrong "Still I Believe," on which Eric croons - "I've been the angel, been the beast. I've been confused and had clarity. I went the distance only to find there was nothing there." The media portrayed Eric in a negative light after his split with Halle. His alleged sexual addiction was the catalyst. Eric experienced the type of public scrutiny that kills most professional careers. Eric has proven that he's a survivor and the music always prevails.

Finally, Eric closes Love & Life with a song dedicated to the one true love of his life - his 16-year-old daughter, India. "One More Tomorrow" was written shortly after India's birth and presents the hypothetical situation of Eric discovering that he only has one more day to live. India is the sole individual he wants to spend his last few living moments with. Eric Benet shines like a proud father as well as a man at peace with love and life, hence the album title. Eric doesn't just record great soul music; he also lives and breathes it.

By Akim Bryant

 
Album of the Month - Juewett Bostick - Shades of Blu
Choice Cut - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Song of the Month - Bryan Andrew Wilson - "Only You'

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