If you want to learn the magic of soulful troubadour Raul Midón in just five easy minutes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than Synthesis’ opening track, “Don't Be a Silly Man.” The lyrics read like an essay about meeting your idols, but the singer’s old-school phrasing and a jazzy backing band turn the words into a singalong song, and soon Midon’s rather personal story becomes something any given listener can adapt to their own world. This balance harkens back to Bill Withers and the California singer/songwriters of the ‘70s and there’s little doubt on “Next Generation” that Midon has a nostalgic, classically mellow heart as he pines “Infinity takes no time at all these days.” He still takes advantage of some modern freedoms as “About You” skanks with a modern ska beat, while on “About You,” the singer repeatedly drops the Parental Advisory-earning F-bomb. Besides that, Midon’s whole soul-meets-folk-meets-pop-with-a-touch-of-blues wouldn’t be as possible if he wasn’t living in the loose mash-up age of shuffling iPods, Keb' Mo', and Corinne Bailey Rae. Being blind seems to have given the man of gift of seeing past ulterior motives, and aging humanists who feel truth is a value that’s just not valued enough anymore will find plenty of comfort here. Add a worthwhile, minimal cover of the Beatles “Blackbird” and the attractive, oddball lounge number “Everyone Deserves a Second Chance” and you’ve got a laid-back throwback that’s highly rewarding.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries