Ginuwine - A Man's Thoughts (2009)

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    In the 90's, few new school R&B crooners were as popular and prolific as Elgin "Ginuwine" Lumpkin. The Washington, D.C. native was a tender 21 years old when the irresistably undulating "Pony" peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and practically every hit since then has capitalized on the performer's smooth, sexualized persona ("None Of Ur Friend's Business," "So Anxious," "Stingy," "In Those Jeans").  In the four years since his last major label release, Back II Da Basics, Ginuwine has endured significant professional setbacks (the leaking of unreleased tracks and the implosion of his collaborative venture with Tank and Tyrese {TGT}, to name a few), but his sixth CD,  A Man's Thoughts, confidently plants the former bachelor back in the game amidst the young bucks, still full of sexualized swagger, but tempered with the introspection and sensitivity that only growth can bring.

    In the 90's, few new school R&B crooners were as popular and prolific as Elgin "Ginuwine" Lumpkin. The Washington, D.C. native was a tender 21 years old when the irresistably undulating "Pony" peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and practically every hit since then has capitalized on the performer's smooth, sexualized persona ("None Of Ur Friend's Business," "So Anxious," "Stingy," "In Those Jeans").  In the four years since his last major label release, Back II Da Basics, Ginuwine has endured significant professional setbacks (the leaking of unreleased tracks and the implosion of his collaborative venture with Tank and Tyrese {TGT}, to name a few), but his sixth CD,  A Man's Thoughts, confidently plants the former bachelor back in the game amidst the young bucks, still full of sexualized swagger, but tempered with the introspection and sensitivity that only growth can bring.

    Did Ginuwine completely flip it this time around? Not exactly, and that's a good thing, since  ....Thoughts moves seamlessly from the heady onset of physical attraction and desire to, well, the daily ups and downs that inevitably arrive in every relationship. "Open The Door" implores his intended to allow access to her heart, body and soul ("Let me be your baby, I want to be your man: here I come girl, so just let me in"), and "Showoff" is a randy club banger, where he notices his lady's workout regimen is getting plenty of shine and he's proud of the attention. UGK rapper Bun B adds his Southern drawl to "Trouble," a song proclaiming that  the woman's ‘naughty' side is just what they want to get into for the night. And when they do get behind closed doors? He seccumbs to lust with the confessional "Touch Me," and then they're detailing the symphony of sounds their lovemaking create in the imaginative "Orchestra": "My heart's pounding like a bass trombone....I just wanna conduct you.....let us come together like a cymbal crash."

    Love's more troublesome nuances make themselves known during the second half of the CD. "Lying To Each Other" acknowledges the angst and the staleness that's come between them, but seeks a truce just long enough to get it on ("I'ma tell you, ‘baby you're the best,' you gon' tell me, ‘baby you're the best,' we just gon' be two people in bed, lying to each other").  "Last Chance" is a certified smash for a reason, as it's one of the most ...well... genuine Ginuwine ballads ever: "If this is my last chance, to love you, I'm gonna play it like a grown man ought to. If I only got one shot, to win you, just call me Jordan, fourth quarter, in 92'." "Show Me The Way" is also anthemic and heartfelt, asking for a tutorial in the quickest way to earn a lady's love.

    There are some parts of A Man's Thoughts that didn't need to be explored, however: "Get Involved" allegedly reunites Ginuwine with Timbaland and Missy Elliott, but buries the singer so deep in the production work that he sounds like a guest on his own track (!!!), and his duet with Brandy, "Bridge to Love," needs more umph to make it convincing. Otherwise, Ginuwine's latest is a solid and sincere comeback that his fans from the "Pony" days forward will appreciate.

    By Melody Charles

     
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