Johnny Gill, a staple in R&B for decades released his first solo album in 2011. As a member of New Edition, and one-third of LSG, Gill made a name for himself because of his distinctive yet smooth vocal range. While he was a dynamic member of legendary groups it is his classic “My, My, My,” and a steady solo career that makes Gill one of the trusted names in music. The trend of great music continues on this, his seventh solo album, Game Changer. For the most part it’s all traditional R&B, but his perfect delivery can switch from track to track effortlessly on different styles of music, from up-tempo to dance friendly to all out slow jam.
There’s a who’s who list of producers that provide their talents on this album including Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Chuck Harmony, Andre Brissett, Vidal Davis, Claude Kelly and Gregg Pagani. The lead single, “Behind Closed Doors” finds the middle baritone getting it in on a grown and sexy groove. While the title suggests something along the lines of an R. Kelly early 90’s trip, the track is much more passionate and entirely radio friendly.
Gill is joined by the members of New Edition on “This One’s For You And Me,” the only feature on the album. A dance friendly, Sunday afternoon feel is the platform for this record. Gill leads the guys on verse one, and they harmonize along as Ralph, Ricky, Ronnie and Mike all glide themselves through the speakers. Might be time for a new release from the
The title track is a salutation to a woman who means the world to her man. Gill sings of his readiness to take the next step with her and turn in his “player card” for the pursuit of complete joy with this one woman. “5000 Miles” is my personal favorite track, perfect for that upcoming R&B Valentine’s Day mixtape. Chuck Harmony gave Johnny some of his best material, as this is produced and co-written by the veteran. “You take me 5000 miles past heaven/ And by the way I gotta say I love the view/ Your beauty is 5000 miles past heaven/ Every time, every time I look at you,” Gill croons over the melodic piano driven chorus.
Towards the end of the album starting with “Strung Out” the album takes a more upbeat swing. “Gonna Cost” still cuts in as a well-written apologetic tale of the other woman. By the time we get to the album’s closer, “Guinevere” it’s all out fist pumping, and house dance mix. But still the strong voice of Gill makes it hard not to appreciate.
Gill has released one of the better R&B albums of the year in a solid industry effort to bring R&B back to the forefront. Game Changer does just that, also reminding listeners that the veterans just do it best.
Game Changer receives a PARL