Various - The Best of R'n'B
The Best of R ‘n’ B gathers together 42 examples of the genre, all taken from the last few years. Artists from both sides of the Atlantic are featured, and there's a range of styles from smooth lovers’ soul to bling-bling (even gun-toting) attitude.
Included are a number of undeniable classics. Last year’s big summer hit, Crazy In Love, with that fanfare, still sounds great, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. Marking a second appearance for Beyonce, Destiny’s Child’s Bootylicious is a rocking track, despite the amusing references to female flesh as ‘jelly’ and the girls sounding like they have a bad case of the hiccups. N*E*R*D are also given two outings, quite a few more if you count their credits as distinguished production team The Neptunes on a number of these songs (the ubiquitous Milkshake being but one example). Elsewhere, there’s the quirky hip-hop of Outkast’s Ms. Jackson, the cutting-edge pop of Like I Love You, and a number of interesting female voices. In fact, it could be argued R ‘n’ B is the leading genre in terms of female expression. Lisa Maffia and Missy Elliot have as much attitude as their male equivalents; these are ladies who know what they want, whether it be drugs, good sex, or just high-class treatment, and are infinitely preferable to the bland mopings of Dido or the current slew of girls with pianos. Extra points are awarded for including the original Freak Like Me, which is interesting to hear, if not up quite up to the mighty standards of the Sugababes’ cover.
Unfortunately, R ‘n’ B as a genre invites its fair share of blandness. A few tracks exhibit all the excitement of your average boy band (stand up TQ), Lemar’s Dance With You is hideously polite, and there’s grating morality courtesy of Kelly Rowland and Wyclef Jean. Any track by R Kelly entitled Sex Me [Part 1] is going to elicit a certain measure of hilarity, but will it be enough to keep you awake through the four minute ordeal?
The Best of R ‘n’ B is a decent compilation, with perhaps a higher quality control than normal for this sort of thing. Those with only a passing interest in R ‘n’ B may well find a lot to like, while genre fans might want to add a mark or two to the rating.