Essar marks the low point of Smokey Robinson's solo career. Co-producer and arranger Sonny Burke, a long-time Robinson recording partner, provides nearly all the tracks, dominating the sound with his synthesized keyboards. On songs like "And I Don't Love You" (#33 R&B), it's hard to identify the result as a Smokey Robinson record. This may help explain why Essar, Robinson's second straight album not to generate a Hot 100 Pop chart entry, was his lowest charting studio album on the Pop LPs list (#141). But it also flopped with R&B fans, peaking at #35 and becoming his first album not to generate at least one Top 10 R&B hit.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann