Tank - If You Were Mine (2015)

Tank
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"Less is more." It's a concept that's become a fashion mantra, a designer's motto and quite frankly, the best way to dine and imbibe after age 30. Excess can be fun on occasion and even a bonus, but too many have become reliant on going too far, especially in music. AutoTuning this, synthesizing that, building overwhelming walls of sound and cleaning up every spontaneous vocal qirk to the point of sterility. Talent can be the most clear when it's been stripped of those elements, and it is that clarity that fans will hear in Tank's latest release, If You Were Mine. 

"Less is more." It's a concept that's become a fashion mantra, a designer's motto and quite frankly, the best way to dine and imbibe after age 30. Excess can be fun on occasion and even a bonus, but too many have become reliant on going too far, especially in music. AutoTuning this, synthesizing that, building overwhelming walls of sound and cleaning up every spontaneous vocal qirk to the point of sterility. Talent can be the most clear when it's been stripped of those elements, and it is that clarity that fans will hear in Tank's latest release, If You Were Mine. 

There has never been much of a question about Durrell “Tank” Babbs' singing abilities, and he proves those abilities within these sparsely-arranged, piano-driven cover renditions. The titles are familiar because yes, most of them remain in heavy rotation for the artists who originated them: Tank's version of "Stay With Me," the recent Grammy-Award winning hit by Sam Smith, pours on the vulnerability, as does his falsetto turn with Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You." The lead single and title track especially is practically the man's heart on a platter: "I'd make you understand love the right way, I'd give you all of me to make you so proud/I'm begging for a shot, that's all I can say."  Valentine's Day may have already come and gone, but with some serious winter still left for most of us, cuddling with our sweeties as Tank croons in the background can be a sweet heat source.

If there's any quibble to be had with the EP, it's not with the production value or song quality, but with presentation. In other words, the delivery is too-well duplicated to the point that there is little to no deviance from the originals in tempo or range, except for a here-and-there placement of harmony on a couple of the tracks. For example, Tank has enough vocal heft to add more sinew to John Legend's inesapable smash "All Of Me," but chooses to match the former singer's every inflection and adlib. "End Of Time," (first sung by Justin Timberlake) also similarly afflicted, minus the driving percussion. 

An EP for an established artist typically functions as the audio equivalent to the main course, a delectable way to tide one over as the main course is prepared. And by showcasing that compelling voice, Tank's If You Were Mine succeeds, demonstrating that he can do a lot with just a little, hold his own against other R&B peers in the process and yes, make you hungry for more. Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 
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