Gold Dust (released October 25, 2019)
Speaking as a brother who just celebrated a birthday a week or so ago, I can appreciate a need for maturity in my music.
Now don’t misunderstand me, you’re never too old for the turn up. And while the industry is positioned by nature to cater to younger ears, I have no desire to hear 40- and 50-year-old singers creepily thirsting women like they’re begging for prom dates. Y’all gotta grow up eventually.
Thankfully Calvin Richardson is here to school you.
The North Carolina native has spent the last 20 years as one of soul’s last gatekeepers. That doesn’t change with his eight album, Gold Dust.
Not not that guy.
R&B Twitter LOVES to endlessly debate what “real” R&B supposedly sounds like. If you’re a traditionalist, it certainly doesn’t get more authentic than album opener “If You’re Thinking About Leaving,” a slice of classic soul that still sounds ageless today.
Gold Dust is all about getting your grown man on, and Calvin is more than happy to provide life lessons. “Be Your Friend” puts Calvin in the role of comforter, nicely incorporating sparse trap drums over more traditional soul production. It blends well.
“Ain’t Nothing Like the One I Got” is an earnest throwback to the doo-wop era while Calvin breaks out the falsetto for the groovy “Love You Tonight.” I love that he simply rides the beat out for the last minute or so of the track to really let the groove get it. “Let Me Love on You” is equally smooth with yet another simple message – romance is not dead.
Speaking of that, in an era of bottle poppin’ and IG lurkin’, “She Never Had a Real Man Like This” is a whole ‘nother level of manhood: one minute Calvin is offering to cook breakfast and dinner, the next, he’s opening up the checkbook: “let me catch your bills up if you’re behind/take that worry off your mind.”
That’s REAL game.
From warning brothers not to be so quick to turn their backs on their blessings (“Beautiful Woman”) to simply introducing his lady to his family, including his favorite Auntie Loopty-Loop (“Macaroni & Cheese”), Gold Dust tosses out the bling and bravado to break down romance to its simplest forms – love, family and faithfulness.
While the writing is strong and the production is solid, I only wish the album has a couple more energetic tracks (in the vein of “Love You Tonight”) to pick up the pace on the second half of the album. It would have given Gold Dust even more luster.
Still, Gold Dust is a love-language manual that proves grown n’ sexy hasn’t gone out of style.
Best tracks: “Love You Tonight,” “Let Me Love on You,” “If You’re Thinking About Leaving”
3.5 stars out of 5