Wayne Wonder

My Way

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Always ready to join a tune with his velvety voice, Wayne Wonder had not been a perceived as a stranger in his homeland, but his collaborative singles and guest appearances don't often make an impact outside of Jamaica, meaning this "first album in five years" release is, for many, a comeback. On that level, it's a humble, one with Shaggy (a guest on the slow, strip-club highlight "Don't Say No") and Mya (appearing on the Rihanna-sized R&B winner "If I Ever") being the only crossover names of note, but reggae fans will appreciate seeing smart choices like Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and Riddim Fingaz in the producer's chair, along with Wonder's own Singso crew, who are now officially the house band, as My Way is the singer's first album off the VP label and the first on his own Singso label. As such, it keeps with cool island riddims and only flirts with radio-friendly pop, but still it yields many memorable numbers, like the synthetic dancehall "Drop It Down Low" which feels like Tony Matterhorn's "Dutty Wine" redone for the more grown folks. "Caught Up" uses the same hooky restraint and smooth delivery that Wonder delivered on his global breakthrough hit "No Letting Go," and then there are the ballads like "All About You" or "Xtra Ordinary," which Wayne can still deliver with equal passion and conviction. The album winds up safe and easily in Wonder's comfort zone with no envelope-pushing whatsoever, meaning My Way is the familiar way and not necessarily an unexpected blast of freedom. Still, it's a fan pleaser and then some, with no bad ideas, forced plays for the charts, or, best of all, filler.

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