Wayne Brady has always been a bit of a conundrum to me.
On one hand he is extremely talented and funny. On the other he can be cloying, annoying and corny. A lot of that has to do with the persona that works best for him on television, but he’s obviously a gifted man with his ability to do improv and the hilarity that was his carjacking, pimping skit he did for Chappelle’s Show a few years back. It demonstrated that Brady was self-aware and knew that the sight of him cursing and threatening prostitutes would be both jarring and ridiculously satirical. Next to “Black Bush” and “Rick James,” it was one of my favorite skits.
That being said, Brady has just released an R&B album. He’s a decent singer and dancer — I’m shocked he hasn’t been on Dancing With the Stars yet. White people love the shit out of him. He reminds me a bit of Johnny Gill, minus all sexual tension. Nice and neutered.
The song he’s released, “Ordinary,” is very, very ordinary. It’s a generic pop/R&B song with no creativity or modern touches. It sounds like something from the mid-90s that Brian McKnight would have passed on.
Brian McKnight isn’t exactly Mr. Sex Appeal, but he knows how to pick and write a good love ballad and/or slow jam as the anti-R. Kelly.
Other songs have more promise, like the somewhat Motown influenced but modern “I Ain’t Movin” and “You and Me,” but they’re still a little lacking in umph. (You can hear the samples on his Web site.)
I probably won’t buy the album. (What am I saying with the “probably?” I totally won’t buy this.) I like my music with either complexity and inventiveness or I want it to be the slickest and sickest of commercialized pop. “Ordinary” is neither. Senor Baby Wipes, actor Terrence Howard, recently released an album and while he clearly needs a singing coach to improving his breathing control, it’s sonically interesting. I actually downloaded a few tracks. I’m not saying Brady needs to go all fey on an album with string arrangements, flutes and childrens’ choruses, but I think he could have gone a lot slicker and sicker than this. Why waste such good pipes on the pedestrian? His album should be all over-produced power ballads and funky, uptempo dance numbers for your moms.