The Underrated: Eric Benet's Lost In Time

The Underrated: Eric Benet- Lost In Time

Welcome to the first edition "The Underrated", a look into the artists, albums, and producers who are underrated or often overlooked. Today, I wanted to talk about the album that's probably my favorite R&B album of the 2010s, Eric Benet's "Lost In Time"(released November 30, 2010). Benet's motivation for making this album was to give people some of that feel good music that he felt had been missing. Inspired by the sound of 70s R&B and soul, Benet went forth crafting the album, just vibing with the musicians around him, and in turn what he created is a classic.

The album kicks off with the ballad " Never Want To Live Without You", where Benet professes his love for the woman he adores expressing what he envisions for their future and how thankful he is to have her. Benet's vocals are smooth on this track until the end, where he goes off and sings his heart out invoking every emotion possible to convey his admiration of the woman. Moving forward, the next song is "Feel Good" featuring Faith Evans, which is a funky upbeat song that allows both Faith and Benet to have a good time, while giving you that feel good music that Benet had previously said was missing. As fast as the mood went up, it goes back down for a moment, as the album's first single(a hit single I might add), "Sometimes I Cry" blares through the speakers. This song is painful to listen to at times, as the hurt seemingly seeps out of Benet's vocals and the lyrical content is very relatable. For men, going through heartbreak and trying to recover from a lost long tern relationship is never easy. Benet managed to capture those emotions, the anguish, the hope for moving on, and put into one great song. In almost perfect storytelling for this album, Benet follows up "Sometimes I Cry" with the soulful "Always A Reason", which can be seen as Benet taking his hope for moving on and looking on the bright side. He starts the song off questioning what's the use of even looking for love if it's all doomed before arriving at the conclusion that love is a beautiful thing and, as the song title says, there's always a reason for falling in love. Switching tempo a bit, Benet enlists Eddie Levert to assist him on The O'Jays inspired "Paid". The track sounds like something right out of the 70s, and in this album, that's a great thing. The mood goes from nostalgic to flirtatious with the Chrisette Michele assisted "Take It", as the smooth track allows Benet and Chrisette to keep an eye on each other and wonder what it'd be like to get intimate.

As the 2nd half of the album begins, we kick it off with the amazing "Stir It Up", helped by some small background vocals from Benet's daughter India, who has a great singing voice herself. The song, which is a call to lovers to keep things fresh in the relationship by doing things out the box, is a great listen and one of my favorite songs on the album. Benet's daughter makes another appearance on the reflective "Summer Love", looking back on younger days and younger love. Benet's harmonies on this album are top notch, and this song only drives that point home. The "Lost In Time" title track captures the essence of an old Dramatics, Stylistics, or Manhattans track, with a smooth soulful beat behind those big rich harmonies that the aforementioned groups were known for.

As we near the end of the album, the pace picks up quite a bit with "Good Life" featuring Ledisi and admittedly this is my least favorite song on the album. Its a good song, reminiscent of the old disco greatness with soul, but among this collection of other great songs, it isn't as enticing. We reach the conclusion of the album with the socially charged "Something's Wrong", where Benet begins to look around at the world while realizing that something is going on that he can't ignore any longer. This song, even with his message, is still extremely infectious and melodic, as its worked it's way to being one of my favorite songs on the album as well.

At 11 songs long, this album is a bit short but that allows for better cohesion in some ways. Benet made an album that was raw, soulful, honest, painful, upbeat, etc... It was really everything you would look for in a great R&B album and then some. I crowned this album was my favorite so far of the 2010s and I'd give it that classic stamp, as all the songs still get frequent play in my headphones. That hasn't changed since the day it was released. I hope one day this album gets the credit deserves, and here's a jump start to that path.



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