King of Hearts

After years of B-list toil, Atlanta soul singer Lloyd has come up with The Song — the career-maker, the one that isn’t just a future smash, it’s a meme.

“Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)” is the highlight of Lloyd’s fourth release, the perfectly nice if otherwise indistinct “King of Hearts.” A homage to Lloyd’s ex, or, more accurately, one of her unprintable Womanly Parts, it’s horribly wrong, incredibly offensive and ridiculously earwormy. It’s Lloyd’s “Hey Ya!” (and not just because Andre 3000 is on it, although that doesn’t hurt), his “Forget You,” and he sings as if his career depends on it, which it might.

“Dedication” isn’t the first song to reduce a woman to a body part, although it’s the only track in memory to repeat the name of that part over and over and over until it sounds almost like a prayer. And it’s the first and only track on “King of Hearts” to inspire any kind of strong reaction at all. The rest is up-tempo, guest-star-heavy R&B that equally references Michael Jackson circa “Off the Wall” and Raphael Saadiq circa two months ago.

Lloyd holds his own against guest stars such as Chris Brown (on the messy electro-R&B track “Luv Me Girl”) but runs up against the brick wall of pathos and self-pity that is R. Kelly on “World Cry.” It’s slow and obvious (“I hate to see the whole world cry,” goes the chorus; would anyone actually like to see the whole world cry? Or even just some of it?), but purposeful, a future telethon ballad waiting for its disaster to happen.

— Allison Stewart

Recommended Tracks

“Be the One,”
“Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)”