Highlighting the dominance of the genre in 2010, Universal's R&B Collection, one of countless retrospectives competing for the self-respecting urban fan stocking-filler market, features six number one singles, from both home-grown acts (JLS' "The Club Is Alive," Taio Cruz's "Dynamite") and international superstars (Usher's "OMG," Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World"). Alongside the chart-toppers, there are also huge hits from Timbaland feat. Katy Perry, Nelly, and the ubiquitous will.i.am., club anthems from Kelly Rowland, Jay Sean, and Tinchy Stryder, and lesser-known material from the likes of Luigi Masi, Donae'o, and Incisive. Highlights from the first disc include the David Guetta-style dance-pop of Chipmunk's "Look for Me," Tinie Tempah's grime crossover "Pass Out," and the old-skool breakbeats of Aggro Santos' "Saint or Sinner," while Alicia Keys' gorgeously soulful "Unthinkable (I'm Ready)," Shontelle's epic power ballad "Impossible," and Devlin's string-led breakthrough "Runaway" provide the standouts from Disc Two. B.o.B and Roll Deep, who both scored two huge number ones in 2010, are notable by their absence, as are fellow hitmakers Flo Rida, Jason Derulo, and Bruno Mars, while the likes of Lady Gaga's Ace of Base-esque "Alejandro," and Cheryl Cole's Gallic-fused pop number "Promise This" are puzzling inclusions which seem out of place among the rest of the more relevant urban material. Of course, with contributions from Justin Bieber, JLS and Alexandra Burke, R&B Collection 2011 is always going to appeal to a more commercial, less-discerning audience, but despite its chart-friendly track listing, its several big-name omissions means it fails to paint the full picture of the scene's hugely successful year.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
Steve Arrington / Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner / Charles Carter / William DeVaughn / Buddy L. Hank / O'Shea Jackson / Emanuel "E.J." Johnson / Marshall Jones / Jodd Knight / Ralph Middlebrook / Walter "Junie" Morrison / Norman Bruce Napier / Andrew Noland / Roger Parker / Lorenzo Patterson / Marvin Pierce / Marco Richardson / William Roberts / Shaffer Smith / Mike Stokes / Gregory Webster / Eric Wright / Andre Young