Maxwell's 1996 debut, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is a neo-soul classic, often credited with helping shape the genre. People thirsted for more of the same, but the Brooklyn, NY didn't want to play it safe: "I feel like for me it's all about doing different things. It's all about creating a broader scope of something that will one day be looked at upon as body of work." The retro jazz-funk sound that so effectively backed Urban… is not as front and center, as heavy bass, string arrangements, and a focus on groove rather than melodies lead the charge on 1998's Embrya. At the time of the album's release, the sonic pivot confused critics and fans alike, but 20 years later, it's clear Maxwell knew exactly what he was doing. The electronic synth layers, as well as the lush, chilled-out vocals and the eroticism & spirituality flowing the album almost foreshadows a lot of the alternative R&B that's happening now. Check out "Luxury: Cococure," a seductive, pulsing number detailing the search for a more meaningful relationship, or "Matrimony: Maybe You," on which Maxwell croons "Maybe you might be more than just a one night lady." Other highlights include "Submerge: Til We Become the Sun" and "Drowndeep: Hula."
- tri-fold jacket
- white vinyl pressing
- includes new liner notes, unseen photos, and new album sequence
- music label: Columbia 1998 / 2018
reviewed by singing in japanese 10/18