Sebastian Mikael


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One of the more promising commercial R&B debuts released during the first half of the 2010s, Sebastian Mikael's Speechless includes all four singles that preceded it. "Last Night," a midtempo cut that samples and interpolates Al B. Sure!'s "Night and Day," posed this Swedish-Ethiopian vocalist as a young mix of Usher, Trey Songz, and Chris Brown. "Beautiful Life" and "Forever" added serious but lukewarm ballads to the mix. "4 U," the last of the pre-album releases, flashes back to Jade's "Don't Walk Away" -- via the drums from Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Jazz" -- and placed him back in typical playboy mode, where the most flattering compliment he pays is that he'd consider monogamy due in part to his object of affection's behind. The six additional songs tend to flit between the extremes of the singles, with the exception of a relaxed groove that recalls Donell Jones' "U Know What's Up" ("Thinkin' About You Girl") and a yearning duet with Teyana Taylor ("Made for Me"). While much of the material lacks distinction, it has charm to spare. Mikael's potential is evident.

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