Album review: "Bleuphoria"
If Rahsaan Patterson ever records an album devoted to pop standards, odds are it will be more imaginative than most. The veteran R&B singer-songwriter kicks off "Bleuphoria" with a version of "I Only Have Eyes for You" that views doo-wop traditions from a fresh, hip-hop perspective.
So much for familiar ballads, though. Apart from that diversion, "Bleuphoria" consists entirely of songs that Patterson wrote or co-wrote, and though it's easy to detect the influence of Michael Jackson and other R&B role models, he has no trouble projecting his own personality when a lyric calls for soulful crooning or testifying.
That happens a lot. Patterson's soaring tenor peeks through clouds of harmonies on "Goodbye," adds to the gospel-fueled vocal thrust that powers "Mountain Top" and helps turn "6 AM" into a slice of sensuous delirium. Even so, the tracks that boast insistent grooves - the Prince-flavored "Ghost," for starters - often stand out, with Patterson shrewdly displaying his passion for funk beats and tropes.
Patterson consistently makes the most of contributions from Jody Watley, Faith Evans, Lalah Hathaway and Andrae Crouch with colorfully layered vocal arrangements. No doubt he wanted to give fans a better view of his diverse talents and interests this time around. "Bleuphoria" does just that.
--Mike Joyce, Sept. 16, 2011