[13 May 2010]
Willie Taylor has the dubious distinction of being both the most attractive member of Day26 and its most faceless singer. He’s basically the Mr. Dalvin of the group, included primarily because he’s gorgeous and looks good in videos. His voice is paper thin and lacks even the slightest hint of depth. So the fact that he layers so much of his vocals on his solo mixtape debut, Sextape, in production wizardry and sings things like “Turn around and put that arch in your back, so I can wear it out” (on “Ain’t Nobody Here”) and “What’s on the menu cause I’m thinkin bout what I wanna eat right now” (on “Full Course Meal”) without a trace of irony or soul is totally unsurprising, though quite irritating. Taylor seems to mistake bluntness for sensuality, a frequent mistake of young new jacks of late. But unlike, say Trey Songz, there is nothing about his voice or his phrasing to charm the listener in spite of the lyricism.
It also doesn’t help that his producers, primarily Steve Huff and B Simms, give him the most generic trendy production they possibly could. Everything on the album sounds like what you’d expect to hear on an album by a young contemporary R&B male singer. Nothing really sticks to your ribs, though “Knock It Out the Park” and “Thru the Mattress” have decent melodies, and Taylor’s falsetto on “Sweat” suggests that there might be a useful role for him among the better singers in Day26. Ultimately, there is nothing surprising, nuanced, thoughtful, or even memorable about Sextape. The best thing about it is that it’s free, so you don’t lose anything by downloading it from his website.