Anthony Hamilton

The Point of It All

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Released almost exactly three years after Ain't Nobody Worryin', The Point of It All has a slightly lighter tone compared to that of its immediate predecessor and Comin' from Where I'm From. But just as Anthony Hamilton has been able to incorporate modern sounds that fit with his Southern soul throwback voice, the contrasting feel of this album comes through its subtleties. Take "Cool," the album's lead single, which parlays the stress of financial strain into a good time without resembling mindless escapism. The album's opener, "The News," is as poignant as Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" and Willie Hutch's "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" (the latter even quoted), but it is likewise delivered through swashbuckling blaxploitation-style funk. Vocally, Hamilton has never been as dynamic as he is on this song, switching between his grittily textured baritone and surprisingly effective upper register. As much power is leant to some of the ballads: "Please Stay" is startling in its heartfelt regret; "The Point of It All," sparse and elegant, is like the 3 a.m. version of "Can't Let Go," equally steamy and romantic. There are lulls, such as the drippy adult contemporary of "Her Heart," but they're offset (and then some) by the standouts. At least a third of the album's contents would have to be part of any representative introduction to Hamilton. In fact, this puts a cap on a three-album run as remarkable as any other in 2000s R&B.

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