Hippo Manchester
January 5, 2006

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Jamie Foxx, Unpredictable

J-Records, 2005

B

Following his much-lauded, Oscar-winning turn as Ray Charles in the film Ray, Renaissance man Jamie Foxx returns to music with Unpredictable. (He made his music debut in 1994 with Peep This.)

Unpredictable is what Stevie Wonder’s latest release, A Time to Love, should have been — R&B with a sex drive. True, Unpredictable gets a little predictable, rhythmically speaking, after awhile and Mr. Foxx needs to realize that not every song has to be about sex. But when the album works well, it works really well. (And, in truth, not every songs is about sex — “Wish You Were Here” is about his late grandmother and “Heaven” seems to be about his daughter. Still.)

Unpredictable has that slow-jams ‘90s feel — meaning it works as well as a chill-out album as it does a slow make-out disc. However, listening to the differences between Peep This and Unpredictable made me wonder how much creative control Foxx had over this latest offering. Unpredictable is smoother, better musically and features collaboration with artists like Mary J. Blige. But Peep This is more original and, thus, more interesting.

If there is a third album, and I bet there will be, Foxx might be better served by finding a producer who will let him do it his way. However, Unpredictable does show that Foxx, if he wanted to, could quit his day job.

— Robert Greene