Babyface

Grown & Sexy

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Not everyone was left convinced by Babyface's previous solo album, 2001's Face2Face. Many critics and fans found it to be a desperate act of some form, containing several stabs at with-it youthfulness that would've sounded out of character on his early albums with the Deele, not to mention something he put together almost 20 years later. He was either tired of doing the expected or was attempting to appeal to more than the thirty- and fortysomethings (or both). Those who were left disappointed by that album will probably be happy to have the Face of old back with Grown & Sexy, a back-to-basics album that sounds a lot more natural in comparison. While this is very familiar territory, few cover it as well. Written with longtime partner Daryl Simmons and produced with relative newcomer Gregg Pagani (LeAnn Rimes, Will Smith), Grown & Sexy doesn't have any songs that immediately jump out and fall in line with the biggest hits, but it does make up for that with its consistency. Mostly light and easygoing, though not without its fair share of female-male drama (and a couple touches of humor), it's capped off by a great dancefloor track in the form of "She's International," showing that he needn't necessarily stick to ballads with acoustic guitars.

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