I'm not sure of how many albums Jamie Foxx has produced over the last few years, but clearly this is the most highly publicized of them all. He was on just about every talk-show there was this week like a promotion-machine. I heard half the album on TRL and Oprah alone. Jamie, of course, performed "Unpredictable" live on both shows, which he spices up a little with a different bridge... unfortunately that isn't the one on the album.
Nevertheless, the album's title track "Unpredictable" is a good choice for the first single. It's one of the best songs on this album, with a sample-laced beat that is sure to get you to at least snap your fingers. The lyrics aren't all that great, but Jamie makes up for it with his vocals, and the arrangement here is also pretty well done.
However, each time I listen to "Unpredictable", I wish that the song was longer. First, because it's a fun song. Secondly, because it'll at least stall until the album's second track "Warm Bed" comes on which is anything but unpredictable (Sorry for the cliche). "Warm Bed", along with many other tracks on Foxx's album sound very familiar, which is disappointing because you expect so much after listening to "Unpredictable".
As I listened, while reading the liner notes, I began to wonder how it takes three or four people to pen mediocre songs like "Warm Bed" and "Three Letter Word", and then have Jamie, on his own, produce a jewel like "Heaven".
Maybe that is the problem here. Foxx's album seems so overproduced that it comes out very commonplace, and at times boring. Even the album's guests can't save some of these songs, "With You" featuring Snoop Dogg is one these. What is Snoop even doing in this song? It's evident again as you listen to Timberland-produced "Can I Take You Home". The beat is killer, but it sounds so much like a Jodeci song that I have to turn it off. Don't get me wrong, I loved Jodeci, but what I want here and now is Jamie Foxx.
Occasionally you get Jamie Foxx. His song "Heaven" is a smooth and beautiful ballad which he says was written for his daughter. The lyrics, written by Jamie himself (and only Jamie, Thank God), are absolutely mind-blowing. This is the kind of Jamie that you'd hoped for after hearing "Unpredictable".
A few other songs that work for Jamie are "VIP" which has mellow and soulful sound to it, and "Extravaganza" which features Kanye West. It's clear here that Kanye and Jamie really gel in the studio. The sounnds very original and Jamie is vocally at his best, in my opinion. The lyrics are also quite catchy, clever and comical to me... (I had one too many drinks/ and ended at the Embassy/ with this pretty lil thing). It sounds like the perfect storyline for a one-night stand.
Another song that works on Foxx's "Unpredicatable" is "Wish You Were Here", an ode to his grandmother. The song is so genuine that you might actually be moved to tears. Like "Heaven", it is a slow song with personal subject matter, and I think that is when Foxx is at his best.
I hope on his next album Jamie Foxx includes more of the piano and lyrics of his own. I'll take Jamie with a piano solo and a silky smooth ballad over a raunchy Jodeci-esqe song anyday.