Walter Christopher - It's All About Love, Vol. 2 (2011)

Walter Christopher

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Call me a relic, but before there were R&B songs serving as career launching pads for rappers, paying homage to body parts and bodying folks in every way imaginable, I remember an abundance of....well...actual love songs. Once upon a time, there were actually verses that encapsulated moments of sweetness and subtlety, describing the first heated glance, that electrifying kiss, and those dizzying highs and lows in-between. If the verses weren't enough to send heart into orbit, there were awesome, Auto-Tune-less, vocals that conveyed their messages and music with discernable instruments (imagine that!), and that's what Walter Christopher offers in this soulful and sublime CD, All About Love Vol. 2.

Call me a relic, but before there were R&B songs serving as career launching pads for rappers, paying homage to body parts and bodying folks in every way imaginable, I remember an abundance of....well...actual love songs. Once upon a time, there were actually verses that encapsulated moments of sweetness and subtlety, describing the first heated glance, that electrifying kiss, and those dizzying highs and lows in-between. If the verses weren't enough to send heart into orbit, there were awesome, Auto-Tune-less, vocals that conveyed their messages and music with discernable instruments (imagine that!), and that's what Walter Christopher offers in this soulful and sublime CD, All About Love Vol. 2.

A Harlem native with years of professional polish and prowess under his belt (he's responsible for many radio and TV jingles and has opened for Kem, Lyfe Jennings, Gladys Knight and Miki Howard, to name a few), Mr. Christopher's tenor is a buttery one, gliding effortlessly through the slow jams and mid tempos with a deft touch that only the most confident performers possess. "Beautiful" is a brisk and danceable tribute to a woman that's left him spellbound, and another mid tempo groove, "Passion," is one of the most sensual of the nine tracks and manages to be amorous without overdoing it: "When she's around, I lose my self-control: she excites my mind and exhilarates my soul/ Her fingers on my ebony body, driving me crazy, so sensual. I'm obsessed, possessed, with her loving....it's taking me there."

For listeners who consider themselves "80s Babies," ....Love will have a familiar cadence and may transport them back to that era, and yes, that's considered a good thing. The unabashed romance and tenderness that they heard in songs from Surface and Atlantic Starr echo in tracks like "So Amazing," "Falling In Love" (especially with its spoken intro and breathy delivery) and the retro-funk feel of "Tonight," which isn't about conquests and popping bottles, but about showering attention on his one and only while enjoying a PG-13 evening on the town.

Smooth and sweet, this debut  is the aural equivalent of hot cocoa, with multiple musical influences weaved throughout (jazz, gospel, old-school R&B) and every song about the varyied phases of romance and togetherness: "Oh My" reminisces about the life span of their love affair ("Came across a high school yearbook full of memories/ turned the page to 45 and there was you and me"), the picturesque "There You Go Again" marvels at the reach of his emotions, and "Heaven" is expressing that his little honey is indeed perfection on Earth.  If you're aspiring for edge, angst and ribald carnality to the nth degree, Walter Christopher won't do it for you, but if you're longing to get swept into a tender tempest, then start your 2011 off right by making it All About Love. Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 
Video of the Month - Kea Michaels - "I Love You"
Album of the Month - Will Downing - The Promise
Featured Album - Candace Bellamy - Soul for the Season
Choice Cut - Kenya - "Favorite Things"

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