G. John Martin - Black Ice

G. John Martin
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Black Ice is an album that aims to show the two sides of its creator - G. John Martin. The Motown based Martin's street side features a clubbin' brother rolling around town in his Tahoe or Maserati, tipping up Cognac in his Ferragamo shoes. He's a man who works hard and plays hard with very expensive toys. He's looking for that special lady with whom he can share those things, but he has no problem with spitting a little game to a pretty girl who strolls into the club. Martin's sensitive side is willing to pursue a woman who is worth his time - even if he has to beg and plead, or even if the object of his desire is currently stuck in a bad relationship.

Black Ice is an album that aims to show the two sides of its creator - G. John Martin. The Motown based Martin's street side features a clubbin' brother rolling around town in his Tahoe or Maserati, tipping up Cognac in his Ferragamo shoes. He's a man who works hard and plays hard with very expensive toys. He's looking for that special lady with whom he can share those things, but he has no problem with spitting a little game to a pretty girl who strolls into the club. Martin's sensitive side is willing to pursue a woman who is worth his time - even if he has to beg and plead, or even if the object of his desire is currently stuck in a bad relationship.

We've heard all of these stories, and seen all of these scenarios. The only question is can Martin tell the stories in a musically and lyrically compelling way? The answer to that question is sometimes, but not nearly enough. Martin certainly has the tools to have answered the question in the affirmative. Vocally, Martin displays a range that allows him to easily handle club ready dance tunes such as "VIP" and "Hey Pretty Girl," while crooning on ballads like "Beg and Plead," and playing the role of the R&B lothario on a mid-tempo grinder "Rock Me Baby/N' My World," which is one of the album's highlights. Black Ice also sports beats that will definitely get heads nodding in the club.

The album's major flaw is that it is limited lyrically. Martin proves that he can be a solid storyteller on tunes such as the aforementioned "Rock Me Baby/'N My World," and the boastful ballad "Something Special." On that song, Martin tells a woman that her current lover is taking her for granted. Martin's sensitive side is amply displayed the ballad "Beg and Plead." Still, Black Ice too often falls into monotony as Martin boasts about his many man toys (cars, clothes, jewelry and high priced liquor). I understand that kind of boasting falls easy on young ears who equate possessions with power. I also realize such boasts have been a part of R&B/soul music for years. Still, dropping so many name brands almost made Martin's work sound like product placement instead of music.

Howard Dukes

 
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