Joe Thomas, New Man

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On his seventh album, R&B crooner Joe keeps doing what he's always done best: sings sexy, woman-centric midtempo jams. There are no dramatic change-ups here -- much as the likes of Barry White, Teddy Pendergrass, and Keith Sweat before him, Joe's not even trying to cross over to any audience other than adult black women. His intense focus, however (which he's possessed for pretty much his entire career), serves him well. "Why Just Be Friends" states his case with aplomb, a sexy come-on that never feels oily; Joe knows how to sell it. The production here, mostly supplied by Brian Michael Cox, is solidly up to date, taking its cues from Ne-Yo and The-Dream without ever sounding like it's trying to be trendy. Lead single "E.R." and "We Need to Roll" are highlights, but really the best thing about Joe Thomas, New Man is its consistency, which it's got in spades.

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