Retrospective: Maxwell's BLACKsummers'night

By @Tariku__ and @Cool_Calm_Chris 

1. Badhabits
2. Cold
3. Prettywings
4. Helpsomebody 
5. Stoptheworld
6. Loveyou 
7. Fistfuloftears 
8. Playingpossum 
9. Phoenixrise 

There's certain albums that have come into my life that I'll always love. In 2009, Maxwell dropped a 9 cut classic entitled "BLACKSummers'night". The album is the most masterful album I've ever heard, no hype. You can tell that Maxwell was really inspired with this effort. Every little instrument, every voice range, every adlib, and the overall cadence of the album were so beautifully crafted. The album starts off with an erotic and passionate cut called "Badhabits". Maxwell bellows out "Will You Forgive Me?!" as he cannot seem to get rid of the addiction of his lover. This lover has him tangled in a bad relationship and Maxwell knows it's unhealthy, but he can't seem to kick the habit. The instrumentation of this track is beautiful. The build up was almost like sex staying at a well paced rhythm that had an exciting climax.

Another key track, "Stoptheworld" is a true romantic piece of work. Maxwell explains his love for a woman is all that matters at this point. In the moments he spends with her, everything else in the world ceases to exist to him. It's all about him and her, enjoying each other's company, and appreciating the love they share. My favorite track off the album was a track inspired by the Afghanistan War according to the man himself. Fistful of Tears is an amazing track and I absolutely love singing that song. I think it's honestly a better track than Prettywings from the viewpoint of a guy who appreciates live instruments. Fistfuloftears has some of the best live instruments I've ever heard. "BLACKsummers'night" is my favorite R&B album of all time. Definitely my 2nd favorite album of all time. An album that continued my love for music period.

Not many R&B artists from the past are able to make a return and still have the same impact that they had when they were at their peak. Most R&B artists either do not have the abilities that they once had or have just ran their course along with the trend that they were a part of. However, this was not the case for one Gerald Maxwell Rivera, known as Maxwell.

Maxwell had previously been on a seven year hiatus after the release of his third album "Now" in 2001. When he made his triumphant return in 2008 at the BET Awards, it was a complete transformation. Having performed Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful” during the tribute to Al Green, fans were not only shocked by his ability to still hit these notes, but his new, mature image. This all culminated in his critically acclaimed 2009 album "BLACKsummers'night".

Much like his previous projects, soulful instrumentation carried over his quaint and peaceful falsetto. The lead single off of this album “Prettywings” is a perfect example of this, as Maxwell delivers such beautiful yet sorrow-filled lyrics in this song about love that is given and what appears to not be received.

Most of this album follows a very passionate pattern throughout as well, as you can almost hear Maxwell pouring out his heart on this album. From the beginning, where Maxwell is bringing you into the album with the very energetic “Badhabits” to the sobering impassioned plea for his woman back on “Playingpossum”, it is pretty much Maxwell’s most somber and emotional album yet.

With the release of this album came immediate praise, having received six nominations at the 2010 Grammy awards and even won “Best R&B Album” that year for "BLACKSummers'night". Supposedly, this project was going to be the first in a trilogy of albums, the second being "blackSUMMERSnight", which was supposed to be released in 2012, and "blacksummersNIGHT" after that, however neither have been released so far. He is currently still touring and when interviewed by Rolling Stone in 2014, he noted that he is still working on his follow up to "BLACKsummers'night". Hopefully his next project can be as solid as this one was.



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