Deitrick Haddon - 7 Days (2006)

Deitrick Haddon
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Listening to a Deitrick Haddon CD is an experience.  It can be dizzying and exhausting -- there is just so much going on -- but it is equally rewarding.  His Lost and Found and Crossroads overflowed with ideas and great songs, and were among the best albums of any genre this decade.  But modern urban radio doesn't often take well to layers of creativity, leaning instead toward easy-to-swallow beats and melodies that don't challenge.

Listening to a Deitrick Haddon CD is an experience.  It can be dizzying and exhausting -- there is just so much going on -- but it is equally rewarding.  His Lost and Found and Crossroads overflowed with ideas and great songs, and were among the best albums of any genre this decade.  But modern urban radio doesn't often take well to layers of creativity, leaning instead toward easy-to-swallow beats and melodies that don't challenge.

So, desiring to broaden his audience, on 7 Days Haddon attempts to meet urban radio halfway. He has teamed with modern R&B hitmakers Tim & Bob (Bobby Valentino, Jennifer Lopez) and released an album that maintains his message of redemption and faith but set to a very contemporary R&B sound.  And while the album fails to reach the creative heights of Haddon's previous two masterpieces, 7 Days accomplishes its goal.  It is a tight (if a bit slick) modern urban album that is as strong as anything on R&B radio, as infectious as a Chris Brown disc but lyrically miles ahead.  And it is all steered by Haddon's consistently strong songwriting and musical instincts, even when surrounded by rather generic R&B production.  So while "Heavenly Father" borrows a bit too much from NeYo's "So Sick" and "Count Your Blessings" uses the same Willie Hutch sample that Jaheim did early this year, songs like the title track and "Help Somebody" are among Haddon's best.

Throughout his career Deitrick Haddon has always been experimenting, and he hasn't released a bad disc yet.  So while part of me wishes that 7 Days bore more of his creative personality and less of "flavor of the week" modern R&B stylings, there's no denying that he's proven again his ability to change sounds and create a disc that is better than just about anything else around. 

by Chris Rizik

 

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