Get It On... Tonite

Montell Jordan

Def Jam / Island Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If you're not a person who follows r&b/soul music closely like myself, you might think it's been some time since we heard from Montell Jordan. After the success of his album This Is How We Do It and its title track, it might have seemed that Jordan dropped off the edge of the earth.

Those in the know are much better informed. Jordan is now on his fourth album, Get It On... Tonite, and if he's done anything over the years, he's turned himself into a soul singer who's a cross between R. Kelly and Luther Vandross. Musically, this work is incredibly pleasant, even if the subject matter in some of the songs borders on typical male braggadoccio.

The disc is divided into two distinct parts: the first is an uptempo, on-the-fringe-of-hip-hop style that glorifies fun, both in and out of the sheets. The second half is more introspective and slower-tempoed, focusing more on the heartbreak of relationships than the pleasure. What's a mark of excellence for Jordan is that both sides are equally as good, meaning your preference will most likely depend on the kind of mood you're in at the moment.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On the faster division of Get It On... Tonite, Jordan walks a fine line between r&b/soul, funk and hip-hop, all without diluting the music one drop. Tracks like "Get It On Tonite," "Can't Get Enough" and "Why You Wanna Do That? (Ooh Girl)" all show just how talented Jordan truly is, even if he's not creating anthems that would be beat to death in the sports world. All of this the same, maybe it wouldn't have hurt to have toned down the suggested sexual play on tracks like "What's It Feel Like? (Is It Good?)". Not that I'm a prude, but it almost feels like if you've got to sing about it, chances are you ain't gettin' as freaky as often as you'd like to.

For me, it is the slower half of Get It On... Tonite that seals the deal for Jordan. Here is where he's given a chance to musically stretch his legs, and he does so without seeming overbearing or becoming a musical show-off. Who else could take Phil Collins's 1983 hit "Against All Odds" and work it into a unique masterpiece all its own? Who else could take two songs like "One Last Time (Break Up Sex)" and "Last Night (Can We Move On?)" and make it sound like this is a natural progression of the album?

Especially noteworthy are the two versions of "Once Upon A Time" that grace this album - the original track, and the version in Spanish that starts playing just seconds after "Against All Odds" fades out. (Memo to all record producers: this is the way to handle bonus tracks! Take the hint.) In a sense, it almost sounds better hearing Jordan sing this one in Spanish, even though I admit I don't understand one word of the language. Following the storyline, this sounds much more natural.

Get It On... Tonite is the kind of album that will keep Jordan's diehard fans drooling for more -- and if all you know of his music is "This Is How We Do It," now might just be the time to pick this album up and to discover the real Montell Jordan.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 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 Def Jam / Island Records, and is used for informational purposes only.