Javier’s Javier: Great Voice and Ballads

Singer/songwriters are a rare commodity in R&B music these days. True, many artists do write their own lyrics. But there’s a big difference between constructing the concept, melody, arrangement and lyrics for a song and putting words to a beat. So when Javier Colon, simply known as Javier, breezed onto the urban music scene in 2003, he intrigued many by being the anti-norm of current R&B crooners.

His ability to build a record from scratch and then execute it in such a urbane manner, evidenced by the brisk swing of his infectious yet simple minor hit single, Crazy, was such a welcome change of pace from the innumerable club-banger and sensitive/R&B thug musings that had then fully saturated R&B, as was his solid, self-titled debut album.

But just because something is solid doesn’t mean it’s necessarily great, as evidenced by much of the material on the album. With one listen, there’s no doubting Javier’s genuine lyricism, catchy melodies, lush arrangements, and impressively strong vocals. But most of the material fails to grab your attention and make a lasting impression.

Ample parts up-tempo, mid-tempo, and slow, 2/3’s of the record is perfect atmosphere music; the kind of smooth, unobtrusive background noise ideal for low-key social settings or for an evening of relaxation. While still good music, much of Javier’s material found here is nothing more than simple, smooth guitar-based R&B tunes, occasionally spliced with light touches of soul (Beautiful U R; She’ll Never Know), funk (Hey Little Sister) jazz (Slow Motion; Biggest Mistake), and Latin (Can’t Have My Heart; She Spoke To Me) for good measure.

The same, however, cannot be said about Javier’s strongest forte; his ballads. The 4 slow-burners found here sound like what Javier was saving all his true energy, emotion, passion, feeling, and creativity for because each individual tune packs one hell of a wallop! Song For Your Tears takes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and turns it into one of the most emotional, painful, and saddest records I’ve ever heard; Javier damn-near forcing his tears out of your eyes as he acknowledges the pain of letting a relationship die being not painful enough to make him rethink his decision, epitomizing bittersweet emotion at its finest.

If I Never Get To Heaven
is one of the most pure and unadulterated love songs imaginable, Javier once again epitomizing bittersweet emotion in a quite simple fashion. In Your Hands is a very inspirational number sure to rekindle anyone’s faith in love; be it love of self, for someone else, or God. And October Sky is the perfect jazzy swirl for Javier to drown his sorrows in, ending the album on a somber and bittersweet note that still glimmers with a little hope for both his heart (and his music).

All in all, Javier is a solidly average album. I think once Javier personalizes his music a little more and focuses more on engaging the listener instead of creating a pleasant atmosphere (though there’s no harm in that) is when he’ll really break through and receive the attention he rightfully deserves. That being said, this is still a good album that should warn against underestimating Javier and his ability. He may not always hit you with his best shot but he certainly knows how to hit you right where it hurtsâÂ?¦so good.

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