|"Hurricane": Eric Benet
by Michael Heyliger
It’s one thing to take a six-year break in
between albums-especially when you haven’t
really established yourself as an artist. It’s
another thing to change your style completely
between albums. Eric Benet did both at the
same time-and the result is a lush, laid back
effort called “Hurricane” that’s somewhat
different from his early efforts
While Benet’s previous two albums suggested a marriage between
spacey funk, neo-soul and a little hip-hop influences, “Hurricane” finds
Benet working with the likes of David Foster and Walter Afanasieff -
producers closely associated with artists like Celine Dion, Michael
Bolton and early-90’s Mariah Carey. The change in sound-Benet now
sounds much more close in style to Brian McKnight than D’Angelo-is a
bit jarring, but not as much as one would expect.
Of course, in between Benet’s last two albums, he’s not been a
stranger to the tabloids. He married starlet Halle Berry, and the two
quickly became embroiled in scandal when Benet was busted
cheating on her. He was rumored to check into a program for sex
addicts, but the two eventually divorced. Listening to this album, it’s
quite easy to see this as a lengthy apology letter to Halle.
Songs like the aching title track (which begins “standing here in
disarray”) and the acoustic “Man Enough To Cry” both reek of
sadness and shame. The style of songs like these actually draw
comparisons to artists like India.arie, who balance soulful voices with
heavy doses of acoustic instruments.
Other highlights on the album include the folk-ish ballad “India”, a
heartfelt dedication to his teenage daughter, and “Pretty Baby”,
which is the song that follows most closely in line with his old, neo-
soul based sound. “Cracks Of My Broken Heart”is another mournful
ballads that stands among the best tracks on this album.
“Hurricane” is held together by Benet’s velvety tenor voice. He
definitely possesses one of the better voices in the industry, with a
falsetto that can be compared to artists like Smokey Robinson. This
album may not have much in common with Benet’s previous work, but
give it a couple of listens and it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air in today’
s music scene.
More information about Eric can be found at; www.ericbenet.net