8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Solid R&B Effort; Better Than 'Now or Never',
This review is from: This Is How I Feel (Audio CD)
As modern as Tank may try to portray himself, Tank's voice hearkens back to `old-school' adult R&B, which is the in the `minority' unfortunately. Regardless of Tank's dismal commercial lot, This Is How I Feel is a stronger showing for the R&B singer than 2010's Now Or Never was. Tank and producers attempt to change the formula ever so slightly by incorporating more hip-hop qualities as well as more overt, sensual lyrics. The effects work, even if at times the innuendo is ever so slightly overwrought. Regardless, Tank remains in sound voice and shines throughout.
The intro "How I Feel (Intro)" sets up the sometimes salacious, self-confident nature of This Is How I Feel from the first line Tank utters claiming he's "...the baddest mother [bleep] in the world..." Despite his overconfidence, the use of harmonized background vocals and lush, urban production work foreshadow the soundness that makes This Is How I Feel so appealing. "Lonely," featuring the ubiquitous Chris Brown is certainly a better collaboration between the two than "Foreplay" was from Now or Never. The production is lush and tailor made to Tank's sensual, romantic voice. Much like the intro, Tank's much more overt and explicit. Certainly the grinding groove incites Tank's inspired performance. The only drawback - the cut is almost five minutes long.
"Your One" is less enthralling than "Lonely," but solid. Soulful guitars and hip drum programming characterize this production. The cut could use some extra finesse though; more background vocals would have energized the cut more. "Compliments (Interlude)" follows, featuring Kris Stephens foreshadowing the full track. "Compliments" as a full entity is a solid cut, notable for both its production and songwriting. Stephens continually graces the listener with the lines "...I'm the most beautiful girl in the world..." while Tank delights with his sensual, chivalrous hook "We could start off with some compliments..." T.I.'s verse is ok, but he's not necessary to the success of the cut. Rap or not, "Compliments" is solid.
"Don't Give Up" opens up nicely with Tank singing in falsetto "You better work girl, work girl, work girl..." The production is tasteful with piano and simplistic drum programming to begin with. Unfortunately for "Don't Give Up" is that it follows a juggernaut in "Compliments," arguably the best cut of the affair. "Nowhere" doesn't quite restore This Is How I Feel to full fruition, though the quicker tempo serves as a nice contrast to "Don't Give Up." "Off Your Hands" is a winner through and through giving the solid "Compliments" a huge run for its money. Well produced, well written, and an instant attention grabber, "Off Your Hands" is the urban ballad so many R&B singers wish they could pull off. True R&B at its best, listening to the background vocal harmonies and commanding, sensual pipes of Tank makes you wish all R&B could go back to this lush sound.
"This Is How I Feel (Interlude)" proceeds the full cut, which happens to be another winner. "This Is How I Feel" is more `out-of-the-box' than "Off You Hands," making it one of the more intriguing listens of this effort. The drums sound particular solid and the grind-it-out groove is infectious. Tank sounds at his best. He remains on `autopilot' on the excellent single "Next Breath," which isn't even the best cut from the effort. What is notable about "Next Breath" is the fact that it provides adult R&B listeners with a traditional, adult-contemporary R&B single in the vein of Brian McKnight, Eric Benét or Kem. The production is solid and even more notable might be the grit that Tank achieves, something we rarely hear from the vocalist.
"Better Than Me" and "Lost it All" are less exciting cuts, but thankfully by this point Tank has given `his best.` "Better Than Me" is a `B,' though to its credit it is a sound departure from the lewder cuts of the effort. The use of strings is definitely notable on this cut. "Lost it All" is also a `B,' cut, but is probably appropriately placed as the closing cut.
Overall, This Is How I Feel is one of Tank's better releases. It is a shame that Tank does not have a higher visibility outside of the R&B market. His songwriting and singing talents are truly amazing, even when he grows a bit too sensual. Solid R&B album.