New Music: Javier, Left of Center
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Ok, I think it’s safe to say that I'm The Couch Sessions' Resident R&B Guy. So naturally, I had to leave my impressions of Javier’s sophomore release, Left of Center.
But let me preface that by saying that this multi-instrumental musical prodigy’s eponymous debut back in 2003 was a solid work of contemporary r&b (especially for a new, relatively unknown artist), mixing it up with a little bit of jazz and pop, a little old school with a little new.
Left of Center continues to blend his preferred genres with his songwriting and strong vocals, though there is more of an emphasis on the contemporary “r&b sound.” And yes, the themes are typical of any red-blooded r&b crooner: Girl I love you. Girl, we gon' be in love forever. Girl I done f***ed up again and I'm sorry.
While a good and worthy follow-up, the only problem with Left of Center is that it’s not as consistent as the first. There are strokes of brilliance like “Wassup,” which bounces on a thumping synth bass, and then there are strokes of…well…not-so-brilliance, like the grating “And the Answer Is Yes” with its hokey, gospel influenced hook. However he redeems himself with the album’s funky opener “You're the One,” and the soulful “Ways I'm Feeling U.”
Javier’s songwriting can lean toward the sappy at times (see the aforementioned “Yes” as well as “Is This Love”), but he more than makes up for it by the fact that he can sing his ass off. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a sensitive guy, is there?