Theophilus London

Vibes!

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AllMusic Review by

Theophilus London has to be doing something right to have Kanye West as his executive producer, soul legend Leon Ware as creative co-producer, and the Force M.D.'s, Devonte Hynes, and Jesse Boykins III as guest collaborators. Additionally, Karl Lagerfeld serves as art director and photographer for Vibes!, London's second proper album. Timez Are Weird These Days, the artist's debut housed in a Ware-emulating cover, lacked focus and was mostly surface with little depth. This offers measurable improvements across the board. Even when London muddles quasi-philosophical gibberish and pro-fellatio sentiments on "Water Me," the hooks and basslines dig deeper. It's more creative, too: "Neu Law" cleverly overhauls a decade-old droning synth-pop vignette by John Maus and is enhanced by Miri Ben-Ari's gently cutting strings. London continues to craft frivolous tunes about playboy escapades. On "Do Girls," where he performs his version of orientation conversion therapy on a woman, he cannonballs into a wading pool of inanity. Well above that, there's the bopping "Need Somebody," powered by help from Ware and the Force M.D.'s, and a chorus that oddly recalls that of Eric Burdon & War's "Spill the Wine." It casually lays waste to everything on Timez. The best bid for commercial radio play, however, is "Can't Stop," an adroit production from Club Cheval, Brodinski, and 88 Keys that features West in top lewd form. Best of all is the finale, "Figure It Out," produced by Ware. Hynes and the Force M.D.'s also join in to make it one of the year's finest slow jams, akin to an update of a top Ware ballad (like "Rockin' You Eternally" or "Words of Love") with sinewy low end.

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