Kem

Album II

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Kem is as out of place with 2005's Album II as he was with his debut, 2003's Kemistry. Via word of mouth and some radio play, he has managed to find his way in with the adult crowd, who helped put Kemistry into the Top 20 of the R&B chart. His kind of R&B is kicked-back with sparse arrangements made elegantly rich with starlit keyboards, subtle guitar flicks, and feminine vocals. Understated but assured, his vocals exhibit a lot of range despite almost always remaining at the volume of a bedroom whisper. So he's really out place in the early 2000s, not stylistically disparate from what you'd hear late at night on a soul station in the late '70s or early '80s. On Album II, there's no stab taken at finding a younger or different audience. You could slip any of these songs between Heatwave's "Star of a Story" and George Benson's "Give Me the Night" without fear of disrupting the tone or mood. Stevie Wonder's guest harmonica on "You Might Win" keeps the connections to Motown and grown folks' music, but Rod Temperton -- the songwriter behind the two older songs mentioned above, not to mention heaps of other classics -- would be the ultimate dream collaborator for Kem. The two would suit each other perfectly.

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