Liberty City FLA

Liberty City Fla

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In 2000 and 2001, countless male urban contemporary acts reasoned that the easiest way to get on urban radio was to emulate R. Kelly or K-Ci & Jo-Jo. Many of them came across as faceless and mechanical, which, unfortunately, are the very qualities that can endear you to some programmers. This self-titled debut album is hardly the only 2001 release to mine the R. Kelly/K-Ci & Jo-Jo waters, but Liberty City Fla. does a better job than many of its contemporaries. Most of the material is decent, if derivative, and one can tell that the Miami vocal quartet has potential on such mid-tempo offerings as "Even Good Girls Go Bad" and "I Met Her in Miami." Like so many urban contemporary artists of the late '90s and the early '00s, Liberty City generally sticks to the medium tempo -- the funkier offerings aren't ultra-fast, and most of the romantic slow jams aren't quite slow enough to qualify as true ballads. Those who really know their R&B history will realize that Liberty City's sound owes something to both the past and the present. R. Kelly and K-Ci & Jo-Jo are obvious comparisons, but elements of the Isley Brothers and Sam Cooke can also be heard. The Isleys were a major influence on R. Kelly and K-Ci & Jo-Jo, just as Cooke greatly influenced Ron Isley's lead vocals. Liberty City, Fla. isn't remarkable, but it's a pleasant debut from a group that isn't without potential.

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