Consumer Guide Album
Raphael Saadiq: The Way I See It [Columbia, 2008]
In 1996, Saadiq turned the climactic Tony! Toni! Toné! album into a virtuoso history lesson. Six years later, he tried to dazzle Maxwell in his own reflected glory. Six years later yet again, he outdoes himself with a fearless return to retro. Singing with the obliging malleability of last Temptation Dennis Edwards, emoting with the sweet specificity of miracle worker Smokey Robinson, he goes Motown with so much joy in one-man-band craft he'll not only convince the girl he's sweet-talking that this is forever, he'll convince you. This late in the game he's got no time for filler. Even the Katrina lament "Big Easy" stays within the parameters of a genre he inhabits from the inside out.