January 29, 2009

Test Spin: Jamie Foxx

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It has been three years since Oscar and Grammy award-winner Jamie Foxx released a studio album. His 2005 record Unpredictable was — despite mediocre material — a surprise hit, certified double platinum at the height of his Oscar-winning Ray hype, and produced a #1 R&B hit. Now removed from his peak acting success, Foxx aims to replicate his recording success with Intuition, an equally star-studded affair featuring guest spots from A-listers including Lil Wayne, Kanye West, The-Dream, T.I. and Ne-Yo. In interviews leading up to the album’s release, Foxx promised that this album, unlike his previous slow-jam slogging record, would be targeted more towards the clubs.
To some degree, Foxx wasn’t lying, as the first half of Intuition sizzles with thumping beats and addictive hooks. The Tricky Stewart-produced lead single “Just Like Me” takes an Usher leftover and transforms it into a sleek, skittering piece bubbling with exuberance. The ensuing five songs of the album are a stellar showcase of modern R&B production, featuring funky, futuristic beats from Timbaland, Just Blaze, The-Dream and newcomer Christopher “Deep” Henderson that are both radio- and club-ready. However, once the record reaches its titular interlude, it loses all of its momentum, relying on tired and tedious bedroom innuendo.
Although Foxx is pushing his mid-40s, his chameleon-like status and confidence sells the stellar first half of the record, a party-ready stretch that could be coming from a twenty-something. Ironically, when Foxx plays the (seemingly more appropriate) lover-man role on the album’s latter half, he comes off awkward, stale and just downright dull. Nonetheless, Intuition deserves a listen. At least for 20 minutes.