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Leave it to overachieving wiz kid Ryan Leslie to release two albums within a year. His self-titled album released merely nine months prior, he returns with "a collection of songs inspired by a summer of secret love." For someone who documents so much of his life, it seems almost implausible that he could maintain that kind of privacy. Maybe the relationship was a George Glass situation (i.e., made up), or perhaps Leslie produced a clone to make public appearances so he could sneak off with his woman. Whatever the case, Transition offers a set of songs that is undeniably more focused than that of Ryan Leslie, and that comes through even more clearly after re-sequencing the material to suit the rise and fall of the relationship. The highs, however, are not as high as they are on the debut and, if less surprisingly, there is nothing as weird as "Gibberish." "You're Not My Girl" is the album's standout, working a snappy disco-funk rhythm aided by synthetic harpsichord and xylophone (triggering a flashback to the S.O.S. Band's "Take Your Time"). "Never Gonna Break Up," the mood-setting opener -- which would actually make more sense as the album's finale -- is not far behind, with its softly lancing synthesizers accenting Leslie's fragility after being kicked to the curb. Apart from a couple subtle wrinkles, Leslie's sound has not changed much and continues to resemble the Neptunes' candy-coated bounce, like he is the Monte Moir or Jellybean Johnson to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "Something I Like," in fact, could be slotted in the middle of Clipse's Neps-produced Hell Hath No Fury, even if it didn't happen to feature a verse from the duo's Pusha T. At times, his voice seems to be lacking in conviction, but those moments do tend to occur when he's spitting game; post-breakup, that could be the most difficult material to pull off. And while he is not a singer like a John Legend or Usher, he can be an effectual vocalist, exemplified most on the closing "I Choose You," where it sounds like he's trying his best not to not come across as deflated but is too wounded to help it.
Performance CreditsRyan Leslie Primary Artist
Chris Morgan Guitar
Brent Paschke Guitar
Dwayne Wright Bass
Jermaine Parrish Drums
Technical CreditsRyan Leslie Programming,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Instrumentation,Guitar Engineer
Daniel Betancourt Vocal Engineer
Anthony Palazzole Engineer,Guitar Engineer
Xavier Jernigan Marketing
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