Gerald Levert

In My Songs

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Gerald LeVert finished working on In My Songs prior to passing away in November 2006. He was only 40, and the cause of his death -- a lethal combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs taken for his number of ailments -- is a real shame, made all the more sad because it was an accident. Needless to say, he had a lot left to give, and if there's any indicator of that, it's this album, which sits with his first three solo albums and 2004's Do I Speak for the World as one of his best. Produced entirely by LeVert and longtime associate Edwin Nicholas, the album delivers almost exactly what any fan expects. There's something for every mood, and it's a plus that there are no guest appearances to get in the way. If there is a surprise, it's that the midtempo club cuts ("DJ Don't," "Wanna Get Up with You") and stately testimonies ("What Cha Think About That," "M'Lady") either match or beat the mostly just-fine ballads. It's too bad LeVert never made an outright classic album, but several strong albums and piles of hit singles, not to mention all the work with LeVert and LSG, amounts to a great legacy.

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