Tevin Campbell

Back to the World

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Back to the World is where Tevin Campbell returns as a man, ready to prove that he is no longer the child prodigy of yesteryear. For the most part, he succeeds in establishing himself as a vocalist of prodigious talents and significant worth. Of course, it was clear even in his earliest recordings that he was something special -- a vocalist that could sing with a sweet, easy grace but remain soulful and not cloying in the slightest. No matter how Campbell tries to phase out that sweetness on Back to the World -- after all, one of the first steps of maturity is to shed your childhood affectations -- he retains that appealing quality, which makes the album all the more endearing. That's not to say that the uptempo cuts don't work. On the contrary -- they are state-of-the-art pieces, thanks to the talents of producers like Puffy Combs, whose "I Need You" is a highlight. But the key to the record's success is how Campbell grows and matures without sacrificing his gift for pure sweet contemporary soul. Back to the World is proof positive that the teen idol is now a man.

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