24/7

Kevon Edmonds

RCA Records, 1999

http://www.kevonmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/07/2000

Kevon Edmonds has things easy, one must think. Being the brother of superstar producer/recording artist Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, he's obviously gifted with the same vocal talents, and should be a dead ringer for his famous sibling.

In fact, that's exactly what the problem is with Edmonds's album 24/7... it's too much like the work of his brother. If you didn't really pay attention to this disc, you'd swear that you were listening to a Babyface album.

How great is the influence on Edmonds? So much so that his brother has more songwriting credits on this one than he does. So much so that both brothers serve as executive producer (along with Kevin Evans). So much so that the two brothers turn in a duet on "A Girl Like You"... stop it, stop it, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 stop it!!!

Whew... that felt good.

I guess that maybe I'm being a bit too harsh. After all, Edmonds does have a good voice, and he puts it to use often on songs like "Never Love You," "When I'm With You," Baby Come To Me" and the title track. He did cut his teeth with the group After 7, so it's not like he's never been on the scene before. And if you're a fan of the slow-jam r&b that Edmonds and his brother have brought to the forefront of urban music over the last few years, then 24/7 is bound to please you.

Yet there is a specter that hangs over this disc that I just can't shake. It's almost as if Babyface wants his brother to succeed so bad that he makes sure that Edmonds stays on a comfortable musical path, one that has been proven to be successful over time. And it's hard to say that tracks such as "I Want You More" or "Sensitive Mood" are failures in any sense of the word.

But what I don't get from this disc is Edmonds's own unique style and flair for the music. In essence, this is like listening to a Babyface photocopy, and I don't sense any individualism in Edmonds's performances. This is the biggest regret I have with 24/7 - that Edmonds isn't given the chance to succeed or fail on his own terms. Maybe he'll be given that chance on a second album, once this one proves to follow the Babyface formula for success... but then again, I know this industry too well, and once people taste success, the suits don't want to risk a dip in record sales by trying new things.

Edmonds is obviously a talented artist with a voice which is heaven sent. And while 24/7 is a pleasant enough album in its own regard, it's a shame that Edmonds sounds like he's being forced to follow a proven musical formula, rather than being allowed his own time and space to grow as a unique artist. Instead, we're only left to think about how Edmonds could have developed on his own.

Of course, I fully recognize that this whole opinion isn't going to amount to shit in the eyes of the record-buying public... hell, the title track (which, remember, is one of my favorites on the album) has already gone gold. Oh, well... if it's pabulum they like, so be it.

Rating: B-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of RCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.