Love & Pain

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Armed with a foul mouth and contradictory sweetly soulful voice, Eamon became an unofficial spokesman for jilted lovers everywhere with his expletive-laden debut single, "F*** It (I Don't Want You Back)." Now more renowned as a novelty one-hit-wonder than a serious urban artist, the native New Yorker faces an uphill task with his second album, Love & Pain, if he's to ever invade the public's consciousness in the same way again. Whether he's unconcerned by or completely oblivious to the one-trick-pony accusations, Love & Pain's 12 tracks aren't exactly a radical departure, sticking closely to its predecessors' formula of slightly misogynistic and passive-aggressive lyrics wrapped up in slick R&B production (this time from Anthony Acid, Milk Dee, and Happy Perez), and Eamon's bittersweet crooning. Lead single "(How Could You) Bring Him Home," a crime of passion tale about taking revenge on his cheating girlfriend's lover, echoes the soulful melodrama of his signature hit; the harmonious acoustic R&B of "I Love F****n (When I Call)" proves his penchant for attention-grabbing cuss-laden song titles remains intact, while the brass-laden minimal funk of "Ho-Wop Sound" shows he's still persevering with the self-described subgenre of the song's title. There are a few flashes of invention here, such as the clever aping of lift music on the crunk beats of "Elevator," and the psychedelic riffs, helium-voiced sample, and tribal beats on "Heatrise," but the majority of the album seems like it's trapped in the mid-90s, as evident on the plucked pizzicato strings and seductive guitar licks of the Usher-esque slow jam "Love Lovin U," the overwrought R. Kelly-esque ballads "My Time" and "By My Side," and the laid-back New Jack Swing-style collaboration with Wu Tang Clan cohort June Luva, "Older." Indeed, if there's one clear thing about Love & Pain, it's that Eamon has found his niche and isn't going to deviate from it. It's an admirably independent stance, but one which means he's unlikely to add to his small but potent tally of hits any time soon.

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