Music

Dave Hollister: The Definitive Collection

Hollister is definitely a throwback to an earlier generation, representing for all of those hard-working regular guys without the washboard abs or hot dance moves.


Dave Hollister

The Definitive Collection

Label: Universal
US Release Date: 2006-08-22
UK Release Date: 2006-08-22
Amazon
iTunes

Mention the name "Dave Hollister" to the average music fan, and the likely response you'll get is "who?". Perhaps a few will remember him as one of the original lead-singers in the rotating line-up of Blackstreet. Another few will remember the string of solo albums that he released over the course of the late '90s and early Oughts.

Still, the presence of this Greatest Hits, erm, Definitive Collection is a head-scratcher for even most die-hard fans. After all, it's not like Hollister had a string of hits. Despite the fact that his first two solo albums went Gold (and the debut album from Blackstreet went Platinum), Hollister has remained among the R&B marginalia. Although his butter-smooth tenor and his mature vocals and lyrics (which occasionally cross over into adults-only territory) is perfect for listeners of blue-collar soul in the manner of Gerald LeVert, it's never left a big mainstream impression, unlike, say, his vocally less-talented fellow Chicagoan R. Kelly. Or his cousins K-Ci & Jojo Hailey of Jodeci.

So let's say that the majority of folks out there can use The Definitive Collection as something of a starting point. If meaty, classy R&B with no club jams or guest rappers is what you came for, then this album will definitely satiate you. It covers over a decade's worth of music, from his first musical appearance as a member of Force One Network (the new-jack swing meets Take 6 shuffle of "Spirit (Does Anybody Care?)" appeared on the Boyz N the Hood soundtrack back in '91) to his two standout vocal performances with Blackstreet to selections from each of his four solo albums. These songs rarely go above mid-tempo, but run the gamut from streetwise, hip-hop-inflected R&B to neo-soul.

When describing Hollister's voice, the key word is "warmth". It's not youthful, like Usher's, and he doesn't feel the need to blow every note into the ground. It's supple, it's meaty, and Hollister knows how to use it well. For most other male R&B singers, a song like "Babymamadrama" would just sound like fake ghetto posturing -- profanity and all. What Hollister succeeds in doing with this song is accurately portraying the battle (in this case, an extremely bitter one) between the sexes. Utilizing Prince's tortured screaming from "Darling Nikki" in the background of the chorus, "Drama" is "thug" R&B at its finest. Pretenders like Jaheim and Urban Mystic could never match up.

Hollister's forte is definitely the "relationship" song. Many of the songs included here explore adult relationship situations. The sonic backdrops and knowing lyrics are perfect for Hollister's everyman, blue-collar voice. Blackstreet's "Before I Let You Go" (Hollister's only visit to the Pop Top Ten) is a perfect example. It's a sweet, classy, mature song that deserves as spot as one of the best slow jams of the '90s. "One Woman Man" (probably Hollister's best-known solo single) finds him reminiscing on his player ways as he's approached by a beautiful girl. Where most R&B singers would've gone right into bed with her, Hollister goes left and pledges monogamy to his special lady. That topic comes up once again in "My Favorite Girl" (included here in two versions), where a cheating Hollister realizes the error of his ways and decides to shut down operations on the "side chick" front.

While most of the material is good here, there is a bit of structural sameness to some of the songs. Much like the aforementioned LeVert, Hollister's songs and albums tend to blend together. Even the song titles -- "I'm Sorry", "I'm Wrong", "It's Okay" -- sort of jumble up. The fact that many of the song tempos stay in the "not too fast/not too slow" lane also results in the occasional lame song. However, Hollister remains one of those guys who can revive a substandard song just by the sound of his voice. "Good Ol' Ghetto" is the same childhood reminiscence that just about every R&B artist tackles at least once, but Hollister's good-natured vocals contain a wistfully cheery, sepia-toned quality that gets the song over.

Those who haven't heard this man's voice or have slept on nearly a decade and a half of his music could do themselves a very big favor by picking up The Definitive Collection. For those who complain that they don't make R&B singers like they used to, Hollister is definitely a throwback to an earlier generation, representing for all of those hard-working regular guys without the washboard abs or hot dance moves. He might be headed down the gospel road for his next release, but check this album for some of the most solid R&B of the past decade.

7

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

This film suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image