Album Review: Ryan Leslie - Ryan Leslie

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 10:00 PM

Artist: Ryan Leslie
Album: Ryan Leslie (self-titled)
Release Date: 2.10.09

To say that Ryan Leslie is not your average R&B artist would be making a severe understatement. There’s no rags-to-riches story, and he didn’t crawl out of a gutter somewhere singing for his life or his last dime. On the contrary, Leslie is a shining example of what can happen when you use your mind to follow your heart. Doubly blessed with an intellect that earned him a Harvard University degree at age 19, and an adeptness with music that’s sure to earn him some top honors, R-Les (as he’s more commonly known) brings an air of gentlemanly swagger on the first major R&B release of 2009.

Ryan Leslie is an album that moves you – not in the sense of crunktastic dancing in the club, but it’s a very rhythmic album, full of mid-tempos and upbeat tracks similar in style to his most recent two singles Addicted (which features Cassie and Fabolous) and How It Was Supposed To Be. R-Les drops a few quick bars at the beginning of You’re Fly but brings a breezy feel to the song’s harmonic hook. But don’t let the slick beats fool you - sentiment is not in short supply. Ladies will swoon over the sweet lyrics and falsetto flavoring on Valentine, delivered just in time for Cupid’s holiday. Out of The Blue is another favorite, as is I-R-I-N-A, another uniquely styled song that says all the right things when words can’t quite get the job done.

One thing R&B fans will likely notice is the lack of any balladry on the album. For the first release of ’09 that sends a major statement – R&B music can be good without always having to be slow. Still, the sap in me wouldn’t mind at least one power ballad to really set the album off perfectly. The album’s closer, Gibberish is the closest thing to balladry and is one of the album’s most creative contributions. Not to give it away, but the title says it all; the feeling is all in the music and the instrumentation.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this CD for the fellas is that Leslie’s lyrics are very expressive without being overly sentimental or his vocals crossing into wimpy territory. Leslie has a richness to his vocals, very masculine and able to convey a man’s perspective but still speak to a woman’s heart. I’d say it’s a strong start to the 2009 R&B lineup, but didn’t we already talk about understatements?

Sound-Savvy officially rates Ryan Leslie with 4.5 out of 5 platinum headphones.


6 comments and counting...

  1. Martini Said,

    This album is HAWT! I loves all the songs! But favs are "Valentine" (girly sigh) and I.R.I.N.A yeah he could have done a ballad or two...but I'm feeling this album...*plays Valentine now (dimpled smile)*

    Posted on February 2, 2009 at 10:33 PM

  2. bshepjr Said,

    out the blue


    Posted on February 3, 2009 at 12:09 AM

  3. KrateDigga Said,

    Good music with no oversinging, I'm game!!
    #3You're Fly, #4Quicksand,and #5Valentine are on straight repeat!
    Already in order on the CD...gotta cop this (lol)

    Posted on February 3, 2009 at 3:40 AM

  4. Kimesha Said,

    Great review! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Ryan Leslie. I can't wait to pick up the album.

    Posted on February 3, 2009 at 2:26 PM

  5. great review guys!
    im actually buying 5 CDS and giving them away on my blog to all the ryan lealie stans:

    Posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:03 AM

  6. Kimesha Said,

    I just had to come back and say how much I love this album. I can't stop listening to it! My fave has got to be "You're Fly". I just love the way the beat sounds. Everytime I listen to it, it makes me feel like I'm listening to a live band and not something recorded. Ryan Leslie is the truth!

    Posted on February 6, 2009 at 3:22 PM


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