Calvin Richardson is in that great tradition of soul beggars, men who sing paeans to the rightness of the love he shares with his woman. On America’s Most Wanted‘s lead single “You’re So Amazing”, Richardson sings “You blew my mind like the wind / Haven’t felt this good since I don’t know when / You can put your load on my back / This love is so real, right, and exact”. On “Adore You”, which features some nice falsetto work, Richardson sings “Every time you come my way / Can’t find the words to say / That will describe how much I love you / So I had to keep searching”. Well damn. How do you resist that?
There’s more of this seduction on the title track and on “Never Do You Wrong”, which is probably the best written song on the album, but the real standouts are the three songs where Richardson gets his Marvin Gaye on. “Feels Like We’re Sexin” and “Paradise” are head-nodding slices of dirty dancing soul, but “Come Over” is the song that would make Marvin truly proud. It’s a song in which Richardson begs for sex, but his nakedly emotional approach turns it into one of those great songs that obliterate the line between religious and sexual ecstasy. It’s the finest song on the album.
There are also a few average songs, including “You Possess My Body”, which is surprisingly silly, particularly compared to the songs mentioned above; the unconvincing “Thug Livin” and a duet, “Reach Out”, with a singer named Nadia who damn near steals the song away. However, this is definitely Richardson’s most consistent album to date. He is supported beautifully by real live instruments and great vocal arrangements that give the songs a texture and movement that you just don’t hear much anymore. With America’s Most Wanted Calvin Richardson shows that, five albums into a very strong career, he is really hitting his stride.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.