Private Room

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The same issues that weighed down Avant's previous two albums, rendering them good if uneven releases, continue to run unchecked for Private Room. The sheer wealth of material -- 16 tracks in all -- couldn't possibly work to anyone's advantage, especially someone who thrives on singles. So, once again, there's a handful of excellent contemporary R&B songs surrounded by too much material that's either decent or middling. This being Avant's third album, it's now more than apparent that he will never outshine his primary inspiration, R. Kelly. But who could really hold that against him? Those are lofty standards to judge anyone's career to, and Private Room's success ("Read Your Mind" maintained a lasting presence on urban radio, and it crossed into the Top 25 of the Billboard pop chart) shows that Avant has hardly been another case of "one or two hits and out."

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