Dalvin Degrate: Met.a.mor.phic

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By Benn Joseph

Met.a.mor.phic is the debut solo album of former Jodeci member Dalvin Degrate. He was originally known as “Mr. Dalvin,” so one of the things he is trying to exemplify by naming this album thusly is his transition from “Mr. Dalvin” back to his real name. Unfortunately, despite his efforts (and success) in making a name for himself outside his previous band, Met.a.mor.phic isn’t terribly satisfying.

A quick glance over the song titles proved disconcerting for me. I found things like “Why Can’t We,” “More Than Friends,” and “Soft & Wet.” After scanning these, I remembered that M.C. Hammer had a song called “Soft & Wet,” and it was pretty bad. Then I started noticing other similarities, such as the way both of them thank God above everyone else in the “thank you” section. Dalvin doesn’t wear glasses, but he has smeared his body with silver paint in all the pictures here. The pants, however, I reluctantly must admit are leather versions of Hammer pants.

So what about the music? Are you dying to know what it sounds like? Well, it’s certainly better than that artist’s clothes or ability to write lyrics, which reach their pinnacle of complexity with “I know you had a long day baby / Why don’t you come over / I got somethin’ fo’ ya.” Other than that, all the singing is incomprehensible, or simply comprised of “yeah, yeah” or “uh-huh.” The actual music (minus the lyrics) is one of the album’s few strong points, as it is not exactly the traditional idea of smooth-groovin’ R&B music.

“Long Day,” for instance, makes a very smooth transition from “Soft & Wet,” and immediately breaks into a very relaxing gospel-jazz type rhythm. Later in the song he stops singing (thank God) and a minute, homely sounding piano solo starts up. It sounds unpretentious to the listener, and that is a big change from the image that generally seems to resound here.

One thing I have to admit, though, is that this guy has one of the coolest websites I’ve ever seen. It is made up completely of streaming movies, so after you watch the intro when you arrive at the site, you can click on “bio,” “news,” and so forth, and then all those links are movies too! It’s at www.maverickrc.com/dalvindegrate. I certainly don’t think the album is worth buying, but the site is definitely worth visiting.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/degratedalvin-metamorphic/