Ryan Leslieby Ryan Leslie
The release date and presentation made Ryan Leslie's self-titled album seem somewhat anticlimactic. When it came out, Cassie's mainstream blitz, engineered in many ways by the always visible Leslie, was two and a half years in the past, and a pair of lead-up singles had already fallen off the charts, released up to just over a year prior to the final product. Ryan Leslie came out in February 2009 with strikingly low-profile presentation: a simple black-and-white cover shot and a no-frills booklet with track credits and nothing else, not necessarily what was expected from a flashy and shrewd self-promoter who hired a staff of videographers to document his moves for a well-stocked archive of YouTube clips. And the album did, indeed, nearly shoot its wad before it became a physical object. Those first two singles, "Diamond Girl" and "Addiction" (neither of which cracked the Top 30 of the R&B/Hip-Hop chart), are the best of the set, easily the standouts. Instrumentally all synth trills, fillips, and bullfrog croaks, with charmingly clownish boasts on top, "Diamond Girl" also leads off the album, and it is followed by "Addiction," a crafty post-Neptunes production rooted in a barely present kick-drum pattern and synthetic hand percussion patter, ribboned in wavering (and practically queasy) synth flossing. What follows is not a series of radio killers but plenty of depth warranting repeat plays, led by "Quicksand," featuring Neptunes/N.E.R.D accessory Brent Paschke on guitar and bass. It's a slick update of In Search Of…'s springy pop-R&B (a la the album's original mix), one with a clever breakdown where the song slips abruptly into a swirl of synthesizers and Leslie's falsetto refrain. As a singer, Leslie is passable, slightly nasally, just skilled enough to pull off a falsetto without sounding silly; it's certainly the melodies and production flourishes, not the voice, that stick in the memory. And that is a blessing in disguise since the lyrics are sometimes flat-out clumsy. It could be that he was too busy with everything else and determined, after running some figures through a formula (he graduated from Harvard at the age of 19), that his creative energies could be optimized by spending more time on hooks and high-hat sounds. On five of the album's 12 songs, he plays and sings everything, while the others tend to involve no more than one additional musician (a not-exactly-heterogeneous crew including Hall & Oates and Saturday Night Live band alum T-Bone Wolk and fashion model slash rumored Leslie love interest Chanel Iman). Enjoyment of the album will be heightened if you are down with Leslie's brainiac schemer persona, but it is not a requirement. Bottom line: the album is one of the stronger pop-R&B releases of the last few years.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsRyan Leslie Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals,Musician
David Sancious Keyboards
Tommy Mottola Guitar
Brent Paschke Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar
T-Bone Wolk Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar
Jermaine Parrish Percussion,Drums
Chanel Iman Keyboards
Carty Bass Guitar
Tommy Mottola Guitar
Technical CreditsJohn H. Jackson Composer
Stevie Wonder Composer
Ed Woods Management
Susaye Greene Composer
Jim Caruana Engineer
Ryan Leslie Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Audio Production
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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R-Les is a creative genius: songwriter, singer, producer, musician and this album doesn't disappoint anyone with an ear for pure music. Favorite tracks: Valentine (#5) / I-R-I-N-A (#8) / Addiction (#2) / Just Right (#^) / How It Was Supposed To Be (#7) / Gibberish (#12) / Diamond Girl (#1). How many albums can you say are produced that render that many likeable songs these days? Very good investment in contemporary R&B!!
Honest refreshing R&B with addictive beats by an artist that writes, produces, and arranges his own stuff...down to playing all the instruments. My favorites are Addictive, Quicksand, You're Fly, How It Was Supposed to Be, Just Right, and Wanna Be Good. It's been a while since I've endorsed so many singles on one album! The artist has a one-of-a-kind website DEFINITELY worth checking out at ryanleslie.com. Still haven't had your fill? Check out his amazing creative process at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ix5dicdL7c
Just heard this CD last night and it's "OFF DA HOOK!" This dude Sings, Spits a little something, something and Plays the instruments. My favorites are #4-"Quicksand" and #12-"Giberish." I loved tracks #1-"Diamond Girl",#2-"Addiction," #5-"Valentine" and #7-"How it was supposed to be" already because I heard them on the radio. So there you go that's 6 tracks so far and there are 12 tracks altogether, so you do the math. The others are smooth too with hot beats. You won't be dissappointed!