Review: Second Chance – El DeBarge’s Return

El DeBarge proved that his voice was still intact with his medley on the 2010 BET Awards. The new release mentioned is finally here, “Second Chance” is in my possession and there are a few instant classics and tracks that reminisce of old El. It also comes with a bonus disc with three holiday tracks .You have to wonder if it is hard for an artist like El DeBarge to stay relevant. His life drama certainly has the news and media outlets sustaining a story because drama and comeback stories are Pop Culture’s life forces. But does the work stand up or fall flat behind the story?

Yes… it stands up… just in case you were trying to figure out which side of the fence I was on, as if you couldn’t tell. So how is El staying relevant? Well I can’t really put a solid finger on it BUT I could swear that I heard an auto-tuned track… but just one.  “Second Chance” has three cameo appearances that honestly for me are not even necessary. But we will get to those shortly. Thirteen tracks of sultry seductive Eldra! The CD is relatively chill, melodic guitar riffs, piano, swaying beats with those percussive instruments that make your favorite sounds but you have no idea what they are called and the falsetto voice of a rehabilitated El DeBarge. *swoon*

Guest appearances from Faith, 50 cent, and FA BO LOUS don’t really do it for me. Although, Format is a favorite I think my ears just subtract the sound of 50’s voice. Faith and El blend so much vocally I really can never tell which of them are singing on the track Lay With You. The track 5 seconds with Fa bo lous… I am just going to leave that where it is.

So for those who want to hear “old school” El, those tracks that give you that “sound” are as follows: Close To You, How Can You Love Me, and Sexy Lady

Tracks that are on my favorites list are Close To You, Format (minus 50 cent), When I See You, Joyful, How Can You Love Me, Sexy Lady, Sad Songs. Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis along with The Avila Brothers, Ron Fair and others have created a solid CD of the 80’s and 90’s crooner.

The track The Other Side allows you hear the age in El’s falsetto voice. There is a pain in this track that makes it haunting but still beautiful to listen to. The title track Second Chance is the champion song for the down-trodden’s recovery. All in all the CD is for the lover in you. The lovers of El DeBarge, the lovers of smooth sultry style, and the lovers of second chances.

4 out of 5