It's easy to imagine R&B crooner Bobby V. stretched out on a crimson, crushed-velvet couch as he delivered his self-titled debut. This pillow-talky album must have been recorded with candles filling the recording studio, but you can bet there was the faint smell of patchouli too. The singer's first full-length has mystical touches in its overall slick and sexy production, touches that help separate the album from the competition in a way the everyday songwriting doesn't. Pan flutes, atmospheric interludes, and French women cooing sweet nothings flesh out the album, an album that's 99.9 percent "for the ladies," save an appearance from his main man, Ludacris. As limited as this sounds, Bobby V. and producers Tim Kelley and Bob Robinson make the album seem a lot more diverse than it really is by alternating the "let's get busy right now" numbers with the "you're very special, let's take this slow" numbers. That otherworldly production helps a lot too, as does the singer's committed delivery, sounding like he's not at all tired of this sensual material, so why should you be? His Babyface-like voice is above average without a theatrical edge but with a charismatic street swagger and just the right touch of humble joy. As they would say in the tech world, "Slow Down" is the killer app, a single good enough to buy the whole album. Past the single, Bobby Valentino the album doesn't disappoint, but it is a bit frustrating when the smart music and bold "Real R&B Singers Needed" sign point to grander possibilities. Of course, it is a debut and, considering that, pulling a daring punch or two is forgiven. If he keeps on the path of breaking the R&B crooner rule book and really lets his inner maverick out, he will go farther than competition can even imagine.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries