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Now Hear This: Apollo II - Spencer Rabin

Rating: ****

Must Listen: Work!, Electric, Take

Skip: Compare 2 U

Gotta be real with ya, I took a look at Spencer Rabin's promotional photos and I assumed a lot of things.

I assumed he was a soft, child prodigy that was probably technically proficient, but didn't have any soul.

I assumed he would be a boring singer-songwriter trying to change the world one sad-boy verse at a time.

Honestly, I assumed I'd hate it.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Listen to "Work!" below:

We get things started with Intro (One Small Step). Some jazzy piano paired with seductive backup vocals with a JFK voiceover. The guitar kicks in towards the end and we are starting to get a feel of what this album is gonna be about. Work! is next and it's modern R&B on overdrive. Sounds a bit like Outkast which is always good. Great tune. Track 3 is I'm on One feat. Hi Rez & Emilio Rojas). More slow-tempo on this one. More melodic than Work! but way less funky. Solid again. Electric sounds like a single to me. It has all the elements that Bruno Mars has been using for the last 5 years to sell millions of records. Super catchy. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a big hit. Anything (feat. Rexx Life Raj & Joey Diggs Junior) slows things down a little. It's sexy without being sleazy. It's not particularly catchy, but it's not bad either. Definitely not my favorite track, however. Compare 2 U (feat. City Fidelia & Merty Shengo) is a fun little song. The lead vocals are really strong on this one. The autotune makes it sound slightly dated, but it doesn't take away from the track significantly. The seventh song on the album is Take. This one has much more of an indie rock feel to it. I really like this. Excellent headphone song. One of the highlights of the second half of the album for me. #TheFreeStyleChallenge is next and it's basically like a cypher with an electronic-via-new-age soundtrack playing behind it. It's dope. The record concluded with an instrumental version of Work! if you're into that sort of thing.

I really dug this album. It goes to show you to never judge a book by it's cover. Sometimes the next Prince might just look like your math tutor.