Many fans of the UK's Prince of Soul Craig David's early vocal collaborative work, and his famous bestselling debut Born to Do it (2001), haven't liked the increasingly vanilla R&B flavoured tone he's taken in recent years.
Slicker than Your Average (2002) ushered in a more cynical, less sweet-sounding Craig. No longer tenderly pining for his one true love, he began the album with the swaggering title track about being the coolest cat, took his pick of groupies in the thin wearing "What's your flava" and smooched his way through most of the rest. But the CD was undeniably packed with catchy tunes. It had its fair share of radio hits that were, for all their faults, a tad more memorable then average (and a whole lot slicker).
For those fans who were hoping for a return to his early form: sorry guys, Craig's headed for USA style R&B heaven, with 12 of the 13 songs on this CD dealing with the topic of shagging, and love related emotions (or reasonable facsimiles thereof).
Tracks like "All the Way" and "Hypnotic" do a decent job of indecent intentions, while "Take 'em off" doesn't stand up quite as well. "Don't love you no more", "Separate ways", "One last dance", "Let her go" and others deal with breaking up after going all the way a few too many times. A few like "Unbelievable" praise women he appears to have crushes on.
Problem is that, though Craig David does this kind of thing fairly well, he's not genuinely erotic, as R. Kelly can be for example. So you'll get tired of the topic of tits 'n ass. With the exception of "Johnny" - a surprisingly touching song about being bullied at school and misunderstood by adults - this album is all about girls, and what Craig would like them to do (shag him with their high heels on, and also watch them "move their bodies", "shake their thing", and so on and on and on and on...)
The Story Goes is not all bad, but it doesn't have a hit song to challenge the cheeky, exhilarating arrogance of "Slicker Than Your Average"'s title track. Fantastic production, even by R&B's high standards, and one of the best voices you'll ever hear, doesn't save Craig David's' third solo effort from being a bit of a bore, and a big disappointment overall.
- Jean Barker
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